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Netflix in Talks with Wireless Giant Vodafone on European Streaming Deal

Vodafone is in early talks with Netflix about a partnership to offer the Internet-video service to mobile subscribers, Bloomberg reported, citing anonymous sources.

A deal with Vodafone would further Netflix’s plans to make a substantial expansion into Europe this year. That includes the streamer’s expected launches in France this fall and in Germany, reportedly set for September.

If the deal is typical of other arrangements Netflix has struck with cable operators — including the U.K.’s Virgin Media — Vodafone would include access to the streaming-video service as part of a premium-content package. For example, the carrier is bundling BSkyB’s Sky Sports Mobile TV and Spotify Premium for no extra charge as part of its 4G service plans in the U.K. (which are £4.99 and £9.99 per month, respectively, to 3G users).

SEE ALSO: Netflix 2014 European Expansion: A Look Ahead

Vodafone reps did not respond to a request for comment. In a statement, Netflix chief communications officer Jonathan Friedland said, “We have all kinds of arrangements with all kinds of operators, and we have nothing to say until we announce them.”

Netflix currently offers service in seven European countries: the U.K., Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. Most of the company’s customers currently are in the U.S., with 33.4 million streaming customers in the States as of the end of 2013 and 10.9 million overseas.

U.K.-based Vodafone is one of the world’s largest telecom operators, second only to China Mobile. Vodafone had some 419 million customers in more than 30 countries as of the end of 2013. Vodafone sold its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless to the U.S. telco in February, in a deal worth $130 billion.

Netflix is scheduled to report first-quarter 2014 earnings on Monday, April 21.

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