Netflix, Vodafone Sign Exclusive Pact for 4G Wireless Customers in the U.K.

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Deal is part of subscription VOD company's international expansion strategy

Vodafone, one of the world’s largest wireless carriers, announced an exclusive mobile deal with Netflix under which 4G customers in the U.K. will receive a six-month free subscription to the streaming-video service.

The Vodafone deal is another plank in Netflix’s international expansion strategy. Netflix said it will launch in six new Europe markets later this year: Germany, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland.

The six-month Netflix offer will be available with Vodafone Red 4G plans priced starting at £26 per month. The promotion kicks off in July and is slated to run through December 2014. Vodafone’s Ultrafast 4G service is now available in 233 cities and larger towns, as well as and hundreds of smaller communities.

Vodafone Red 4G customers will be able to access Netflix on smartphones and tablets, to stream movies and TV shows including original series including “House of Cards,” “Arrested Development” and “Orange Is the New Black.”

SEE ALSO: Netflix Reveals Six Countries in 2014 European Expansion Plans

Netflix launched in the U.K. in January 2012, where it competes with Amazon’s Prime Instant Video (formerly LoveFilm). Last fall it cut a pact with Liberty Global’s Virgin Media, which lets cable subscribers with a TiVo-based set-top box access Netflix through a separate subscription.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with Netflix so that our Red 4G customers can enjoy their favorite TV programs and films when out and about,” Cindy Rose, consumer director of Vodafone U.K., said in announcing the agreement.

Added Bill Holmes, Netflix’s head of business development: “Netflix is all about giving people the freedom to watch what they want to watch, when they’d like to watch it, on whatever device. This partnership with Vodafone further enhances that freedom to watch while on the go.”

In the U.K., Vodafone launched 4G service in the summer of 2013 and said it had signed up 500,000 customers within six months.

Vodafone is the second-biggest mobile carrier in the world, after China Mobile. Vodafone says it has 360 million customers in more than 30 countries, with about 19 million in the U.K. Vodafone sold its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless to the U.S. telco in February, in a deal worth $130 billion.

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