On September 2, 2013, Vodafone and Verizon announced that they had reached an agreement for Vodafone to sell its 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless back to Verizon for $130bn. Ovum believes that the deal is good for both parties, but that the decision to return 65 per cent of the proceeds from the sale back to shareholders is short-sighted. It may make Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao popular, but we don’t believe that he will have enough left to future proof the business.
Keith Mumford, Vice President of Technology at Kineto, explains that although O2 and Vodafone have launched their 800 MHz LTE services, neither is choosing to focus on coverage – which is often one of the traditional battlegrounds that operators favour when it comes to marketing roll outs. Coverage though, particularly for LTE at 800MHz, may still arise as a contentious issue.
Recent merger and acquisition activity has illustrated how Europe’s telecoms sector is becoming weaker, according to top executives at operator trade association the GSMA. Speaking at the GSMA’s Mobile 360 event in Brussels, chairman Franco Bernabè, who is also CEO at Telecom Italia, said that deals such as Vodafone’s sale of its Verizon stake and Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia suggests that Europe is no longer a leading region in the telecoms sector.
US carrier Verizon Communications has confirmed that it is to acquire Vodafone’s US holdings, including the UK operator’s 45 per cent of Verizon Wireless for $130 billion, consisting primarily of cash and stock. The firm said that the deal had unanimous approval from both boards and will likely close in the first quarter of next year.
Vodafone put a price on the sale of its 45 per cent share in Verizon Wireless to Verizon in another short statement on Sunday, sizing the deal at $130bn (£83.4bn) in cash and common Verizon stock. While the firm described the talks as “advanced”, and despite reports on Sunday and Monday that the deal is all but done, a formal announcement has yet to be made.
Liberty Global shares rose sharply yesterday on speculation that Vodafone could use cash freed up by its exit from Verizon Wireless to acquire the international cable giant.
Vodafone has confirmed that it is discussing the potential sale of its 45 per cent stake in US operator Verizon Wireless to JV partner Verizon Communications. Verizon’s desire to assume full control of the largest mobile operator in the US is well known and the deal has been the subject of speculation for the better part of a decade.
With Vodafone and Telefónica-owned O2 launching their LTE services today, long awaited competition in the UK LTE market can now begin. Meanwhile the UK’s two other operators, 3UK and EE, piped up to remind the market of their own plans and achievements.
The Czech Telecommunications Office (CTU) has announced its LTE auction will begin mid November 2013. The Czech regulator abandoned its efforts to hold the auction in March this year, when bids spiralled out of control.
Operator group Vodafone has announced that it will launch 4G services in the UK later this month. The service will be live in London as of August 29, the same date that rival O2 plans to switch its LTE network on. Twelve further cities will be connected to the network by the end of the year, the operator added.
Operator group Vodafone has signed a five year global managed services deal with OSS/BSS provider Amdocs. Under the terms of the deal, Vodafone’s customer care and billing will be based on Amdocs software applications and the vendor will deliver application development, operations and maintenance services for the operator.
Operator group Vodafone has confirmed reports that it has taken legal action against Telecom Italia, for abuse of a dominant position in the Italian market. The group is seeking damages of more than €1bn.
Vodafone has announced a restructuring of its international portfolio, with the creation of a single European region, which the operator said will “ensure a more efficient and effective delivery” of its Vodafone 2015 priorities.
All of the UK’s mobile network operators have extended their carrier billing offerings by connecting to Gemalto’s direct billing platform, the mobile security solutions provider announced.
The UK’s mobile operators have been granted permission to redeploy their existing 2G and 3G radio spectrum for 4G services.
The boards of the world’s ten largest operators are dominated by executives with legal, financial and engineering backgrounds, resulting in a conservative culture that “struggles to drive and nurture innovation”, according to recruitment consultancy European Leaders.
Vodafone has launched an MVNO in partnership with UK retailer Sainsbury’s. The 50/50 joint venture, which will operate under the brand ‘Mobile by Sainsbury’s’ will launch later this summer, led my a management team of existing Vodafone and Sainsbury’s executives.
Half of enterprises worldwide will have adopted M2M technology by 2015, according to Vodafone. Furthermore, although large organisations have so far led in deploying such technology, small organisations are set to surpass them in terms of adoption, the operator said.
German fixed broadband and TV operator Kabel Deutschland has confirmed that it has received an acquisition approach from international cable provider Liberty Global. The move follows an offer from Vodafone last week. No details on the size of either offer have been made public and the prospect of a bidding war now looms.
Calls for consolidation in the European mobile market grow louder by the week and four-operator markets look increasingly challenged. Now, those mobile operators that have already built scale seem to be suggesting that there is no option but to expand yet further through diversification.