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Vodafonewatch
This release
: #170
December 2018: 98pp
Releases/year: 10+
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Executive brief

Management update

Q2 FY18-19 [p.6]

  • Read battles to promote optimism as growth weakens
  • Table: Vodafone Group, revenue summary, Q2 FY18-19
  • Table: Mobile data usage for selected OpCos, Q2 FY18-19
  • Liberty buy is pivotal to hemmed-in Group
  • Spend: Digital Vodafone Mk II
  • Table: Europe and Common Functions opex reduction plan, FY18-20
  • Group Finance in fresh power-grab
  • Table: Vodafone guidance, FY18-19

Group

Deals: Tower move 'could include UK', after all [p.16]

  • Table: Vodafone Europe Region tower assets
  • Vodafone -- late to the party once more
  • Ireland primed
  • Tie-up may have an Italian 5G flavour

Network: Vodafone sees end of 'Huawei effect' [p.21]

  • Vodafone follows OpenRAN trail from India to Turkey
  • Table: Telefónica and Vodafone OpenRAN RFI participants
  • End of 'post-Huawei' era
  • Table: Tenorio's call for action: 2019
  • TIP faithful and followers gather in London
  • Table: TIP top-ups at a glance: Vodafone leads from the front on RANs, small cells, and optical packet transport

Partnerships: Vodafone Brasil morphs into Arqia [p.29]

  • Vodafone struggling to learn Latin
  • Partner Markets edifice continues to flake
  • Botswana signs out
  • Philippines spurned

People: Ahuja joins Board to aid Group refresh [p.34]

  • Table: people movement highlights

Products and services: V by Vodafone platform being rebooted [p.39]

Supply chain: Read speaks up for Huawei in security debate [p.41]

  • Supply chains under review
  • Germany and New Zealand also gets the Huawei jitters

Europe Region

Q2 FY18-19: Europe increasingly the 'Vodafone Germany show' [p.47]

  • Table: Vodafone Europe Region, service revenue summary, Q2 FY18-19

Germany: VfD on collision course with BNA over 5G auction rules [p.50]

  • Table: MNO moans: GSMA rundown on what's wrong with 5G auction rules in Germany
  • Go fourth, United Internet

Greece: Forthnet bids go in [p.54]

Ireland: VfIr frees more funding for SIRO JV [p.56]

  • Leadership swap

Italy: VfIt hits the Giga mark [p.58]

Malta: VfM has another GO at wireline expansion [p.59]

Netherlands: VfZ launches appeal over wholesale regulation [p.60]

  • Another blow to Vodafone and Liberty's Dutch dalliance

Spain: Game on for VfS-OnMobile deal [p.63]

UK: Skodafone back on agenda after Comcast takeover [p.65]

  • Cityfibre deal reaches double figures

Africa, Middle East & Asia-Pacific Region

Q2 FY18-19: Group burned again by volatile AMAP trends [p.69]

  • Table: Vodafone AMAP Region, service revenue summary, Q2 FY18-19
  • The De-recovery of India

Ghana: Auction begins but 800MHz still at deadlock [p.72]

India: VfI set to jettison fibre network [p.74]

New Zealand: VfNZ to shape up for IPO take two [p.76]

  • VfNZ targets IoT and security opportunities
  • VfNZ unveils Kiri chatbot
  • 'TOBification' is now a thing
  • VfNZ seeks network flexibility with more Ciena tech

Vodacom Group: Telkom roaming deal fills Cell C gap [p.83]

  • Safaricom shuffles top team to reignite growth
  • Safaricom remains frozen out of broadcast market
  • VdM gains footing to expand '4G' service
  • 3G still a priority, as Intelsat secures VdM deal

Further reading

Index

Symbols

3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 24, 89
5G Automotive Association 33

A

Accenture 25
Aditya Birla Group
- Idea Cellular 36, 70
ADVA Optical Networking 25, 28
Africa 17, 22, 32, 35, 36, 38, 68, 69, 84, 85, 93
- Egypt 9, 70
- Ethiopia 85
- Ghana 32, 72, 73, 93
-- National Communications Authority 72
- Kenya 73, 87
- Mozambique 88, 89
- Nigeria 85, 89
- Rwanda 38
- South Africa 9, 38, 70, 83, 84, 89, 93
-- Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) 84
- Sub-Sahara 32
Afrimax Group 32
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd 71
- Alipay.com Co., Ltd 71
Altice Group 30
Amazon.com Inc. 53, 55
América Móvil 30, 32
Americas
- Brazil 29, 30, 32
- Canada 44, 64
- Chile 30
- Latin America 22, 28, 30, 32, 37
- North America 32
- Peru 30
- USA 33, 34, 35, 37, 41, 43, 44, 64, 66
Anatel, Brazil 30
Apple 53, 62, 71, 89
- iPhone 62
Aricent Inc. 25, 28
Asia-Pacific 32, 35, 36
- Australia 38, 41, 42, 44, 71, 78, 91
- China 25, 32, 41, 42, 43, 44, 71, 87, 91
-- Province/Municipality/Region
--- Beijing 43
--- Guangdong 42
- Fiji
-- Commerce Commission 77
- India 6, 18, 22, 35, 36, 63, 69, 70, 71, 74, 75, 93
-- Department of Telecommunications (DoT) 75
-- Government 74
- Japan 32
- New Zealand 38, 41, 44, 76, 77, 78, 79, 93
-- Commerce Commission (New Zealand) 77
- Philippines 32
- South Korea 32, 33
Augere Holdings (Netherlands) BV 35
Axel Springer AG 34
Axiata Group Bhd (TM International) 38
- India (Idea Cellular, see also Aditya Birla) 36, 70, 74, 75, 93
- Malaysia (Celcom (Malaysia) Bhd) 38

B

Bank of America 74
- Merrill Lynch 74
Bank of Ireland 37
BCE Inc. 28
BC Partners
- Intelsat Ltd 89, 93
Bharti Group 25, 28, 74, 75, 93
- Airtel 25, 28, 38, 73, 74, 75, 93
- Africa
-- Ghana 73
- Bharti Infratel 74, 93
- Indus Towers 74
BMW Group 33
BNP Paribas S.A. 74
Botswana Telecommunications Corp. 32
BT Group 25, 27, 28, 36, 38, 42, 57, 65, 66, 91
- Openreach 65, 66

C

Cadbury Schweppes 35
CCS Insight 81, 93
China Telecom 25, 32, 91
Ciena Corp. 28, 82, 93
Cisco Systems 25, 28, 84
Coca-Cola 75
Comcast Corp. 55, 65, 66
Conexus Mobile Alliance 32
Coriant 28
Credit Suisse 74
CyTA 54

D

Datora Telecom 29, 30, 32
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu 25, 28
Dennis Publishing 32
Deutsche Telekom 18, 24, 25, 27, 28, 45, 53, 92
- Europe
-- Greece (see OTE) 55
-- Hungary (see Magyar Telekom) 27
-- Netherlands 61, 92
-- Poland (Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa/PTC) 37
-- UK (EE) 42, 53
- Germany 52, 53
- Investments
-- Magyar Telekom (see separate) 27
- USA 53, 91
Dixons Carphone 67
Drillisch AG 52

E

Eaton Towers 35
eBay
- PayPal 67, 71
Econet Wireless Group 73
EE (see DT, FT) 42, 53
eircom 18
Electricity Supply Board (Ireland) 37, 56
Emblaze Group
- European Telecom 33
Enel SpA 20
Entel PCS 30
Ericsson 36, 42
Etisalat 38
- Mobily 38
Europe 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 32, 33, 35, 37, 41, 46, 47, 48, 49, 51, 65, 69, 71, 76, 92
- Austria 55
- Central Europe 45
- Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) 32
- Czech Republic 37
- Denmark 64
- Finland 53
- France 19, 35
- Germany 6, 8, 9, 10, 17, 34, 37, 44, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 55, 66, 91, 92, 93
-- Bundesnetzagentur für Elektrizität, Gas, Telekommunikation, Post und Eisenbahnen (BNetzA, RegTP, FNA, or German Federal Network Agency) 50, 51, 52, 92
--- Länder
-- Berlin 27
- Greece 9, 17, 48, 54, 55, 92
- Ireland 17, 18, 33, 38, 48, 55, 56, 57, 66, 92
- Italy 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 19, 20, 35, 48, 55, 58, 64, 66, 91, 92
- Luxembourg 32, 45
- Malta 59, 92
-- Communications Authority 59
- Netherlands 17, 60, 61, 62, 92
- Norway 53
- Portugal 9, 17, 48
- Romania 9, 48
- Russia 32
- Spain 6, 7, 9, 11, 14, 17, 28, 35, 37, 42, 47, 48, 49, 55, 63, 64, 66, 92
-- Comision Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia 64
- Sweden 36, 53
- Switzerland 53, 55
- Turkey 9, 17, 22, 28, 40, 42, 69, 70, 91
- United Kingdom (UK) 8, 9, 11, 14, 16, 17, 27, 35, 36, 37, 38, 41, 42, 43, 44, 48, 49, 53, 55, 65, 66, 67, 89, 91, 92, 93
European Union 60
- European Commission 10, 33, 49, 60, 92
- European Court of Justice 60
- Eurotariff 64
Expeto 45

F

Facebook 21, 22, 25, 27, 28, 55, 79
Ford Motor Company
- Jaguar 33, 37
- Volvo 33
Forthnet 54, 55, 92

G

Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) 33
GCSB, New Zealand 44
GlaxoSmithKline 38, 85
Google 53, 55
- Android Market 89
- Google Play 53
- YouTube 64
GSM Association (GSMA) 33, 51, 92
- Mobile World Congress 25

H

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise 27
Home Box Office 64
Huawei Technologies 21, 23, 33, 41, 42, 43, 44, 58, 62, 64, 91
Hutchison Whampoa
- Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Ltd (VHA, (see Vodafone) 37, 71, 78
Hyundai 33

I

IBM 53, 55, 80
IHS Inc. 55
Iliad 19
Indus Towers 74
Intel 25, 27, 28
ITV 53

J

JCDecaux Group 34
Juniper Networks 84

K

Kia Motors Corp. 33
KPN 38, 60, 61, 62
KT Corp. (KTC/KTF) 32

L

Land Rover 33, 37
Largo Ltd
- WIND Hellas 54
LG Electronics 32, 62
Liberty Global 10, 37, 49, 61, 66, 92
- UPC Germany GmbH
- Unitymedia GmbH 10, 49
- Virgin Media 37, 66
- Ziggo 92
LightSquared Co. 35
Lime Micro 25, 26, 27
LinkedIn Corp. 37, 53
Local Backhaul Networks, LLC 45

M

Magyar Telekom (see DT) 27
Mahindra Group
- Tech Mahindra 25
Market segments
- Mobile data 9, 67, 83, 86, 89
- Mobile virtual network (MVNA/MVNE/MVNO) 9, 29, 30, 51, 52, 55, 67
- M-payment 71
- Network-sharing 18, 19
- Outsourcing 18
- Over-the-top (OTT) 53
- Value-added services (VAS) 51, 55, 59, 62
- Voice 9, 33, 53, 55, 58, 81, 89
Microsoft 89
Middle East 36
- Egypt 9, 70
- Israel 33
- Qatar 32
Millicom International Cellular 37
- Tigo Ghana 73
Morgan Stanley 17
MTN 25, 28, 38, 72, 83, 84
- Ghana (Scancom) 72
- South Africa 83, 84

N

Naspers Limited (MIH Group)
- MultiChoice 87
-- DStv 87
Netflix Inc. 55, 64, 73
Nike Inc. 38
Nokia 25, 27, 42, 44, 58
NTT 25, 27

O

Oger Telecom
- Cell C 83, 84
OnMobile Global Ltd 63, 92
Oracle 36
Orange 35
- Orange 27, 28, 34, 35, 36, 45, 49, 53, 64
- Spain 49, 64
- UK (see EE) 35, 36, 42, 53
OTE (Hellenic Telecom. Org. SA, see DT)
- Cosmote 55
Greece 55

P

Phluido 23, 28
ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG 53
Proximus Group 32

S

Safaricom 35, 36, 38, 73, 85, 86, 87, 93
- M-PESA 36, 85
Samsung 42, 62, 89
SAP 30
Singapore Telecom
- Optus (Australia) 38
Sistema
- Mobile TeleSystems 32
SK Telecom 25, 28
Sky Network Television 38, 76, 79
SoftBank Corp. 32
Sony Corp. 62, 64
- Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. 64
-- AXN 64
Sprint Nextel 91
Supreme Court 64, 75

T

TalkTalk Telecom Group plc 38
TCL Communication 40
Technology
- 2G 23, 73, 83, 89
-- GSM 33, 51
- 3G 23, 73, 83, 89
-- Evolved HSPA (HSPA+/I-HSPA)
-- MIMO 58, 62
- 4G 9, 23, 26, 27, 72, 83, 88, 89, 93
-- Long Term Evolution (LTE) 9, 27, 58, 62, 79, 89
-- VoLTE (Voice-over-LTE) 89
- 5G 19, 27, 28, 33, 41, 42, 44, 50, 51, 52, 58, 62, 82, 91, 92
- AI 25, 33, 53, 55, 58, 78, 80, 81
- Cloud computing 24, 26, 37, 64, 78, 89
- CWDM 28
- Ethernet 28, 82
- Femtocell 9
- Fibre 20, 37, 42, 49, 55, 56, 59, 64, 65, 66, 70, 74, 92, 93
- FTTP 20, 66
- FTTH 55, 59
- IoT 20, 29, 30, 33, 37, 38, 39, 45, 58, 64, 75, 78, 79, 82, 93
- IP 21, 24
- M2M 29, 30, 33
- MMS 9
- Narrow Band Internet of Things (NB-IoT) 79
- RAN 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 91
- RBT 63
- R&D 24, 41, 42, 43
- SIM 29, 67, 71, 75, 81
- Smartphone 67
- SMS 53
- Spectrum 14, 19, 50, 51, 72, 82, 88, 92, 93
-- 800 MHz 72, 88
-- 900 MHz 73, 88
-- 1800 MHz 73, 88
-- 2100 MHz 73, 88
-- 2600 MHz 88
- WAN 84
- Web Services 35
- W-LAN 33, 89
Technoport SA 45
Tele2 61, 62, 92
- Netherlands 61, 92
Telecom Argentina 30, 32
Telecom Infra Project 21, 25, 91
Telecom Italia 18, 19, 20, 25, 28, 55, 91
- Telecom Italia Mobile 28, 30, 55
Telefónica Group 16, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 37, 38, 45, 49, 52, 55, 64, 89
- Europe 38
- España 49, 64
- Ireland 18
- UK 16, 55
Telekom Austria Group 53
- Austria
- A1 53
Telenet 61
Telenor ASA 35
TeliaSonera 53
Telkom South Africa 83, 84
Telstra 28, 53, 78, 93
Time Warner
- CNN 93
Tinizine Ltd
- Azoomee 45
TomTom 33
Truphone 36
Tunisie Telecom 32
Twenty-First Century Fox 66
- Sky
-- Sky Italia 55

U

United Internet 52
UPC 37

V

Vasona Networks 45
Viettel Group
- Movitel 88, 93
Visa 38
Vocus Communications 77
Vodacom Group 9, 10, 37, 38, 69, 70, 71, 83, 84, 86, 88, 89, 93
- Ex-executives
-- Maseko, Sipho 84
- Group 9, 10, 37, 38, 70, 71, 83, 84, 89, 93
- Lesotho 38
- Mozambique 88, 89, 93
- South Africa 9, 38, 70, 83, 84, 89, 93
- Tanzania 38, 86
- Vodacom Business 84, 89
Vodafone
- Africa, Middle East, and Asia Pacific Region (AMAP) 8, 10, 12, 17, 36, 38, 68, 69, 71, 93
-- Africa 17, 32, 35, 36, 38, 68, 69, 84, 85, 93
-- Asia 32, 35, 36
-- Australia 41, 42, 44, 71, 78
--- VHA Pty. Ltd (see Hutchison Whampoa) 71
-- Egypt 9, 70, 71
-- Ghana 32, 35, 71, 72, 73, 93
-- India 6, 18, 22, 25, 28, 35, 36, 63, 69, 70, 71, 74, 75, 93
--- Indus Towers 74
-- Kenya (see Safaricom) 35, 36, 38, 73, 85, 86, 87, 93
-- Middle East 36
-- Mozambique 88, 93
-- New Zealand 38, 41, 44, 71, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 82, 93
--- TelstraClear 77
-- Pacific 32, 36
-- Qatar (see Vodafone and Qatar Foundation and Vodafone Qatar) 32, 71
-- South Africa (see Vodacom) 9, 10, 37, 38, 69, 70, 71, 83, 84, 86, 88, 89, 93
-- Turkey 9, 17, 22, 28, 40, 42, 69, 70, 71, 91
- Board of Directors
-- Davis, Sir Crispin 35
-- Dopfner, Dr. Mathias 34
-- Furse, Dame Clara 35
-- Jonah, Samuel Esson 35
-- Kleisterlee, Gerard 35
-- Kordestani, Omid 35
-- Moraleda, Amparo 35
-- Nish, David 35
- Europe Region 9, 10, 12, 46, 47, 48, 49, 71, 92
-- Cable & Wireless Worldwide 65
-- Czech Republic 37, 80
-- Germany 6, 8, 9, 10, 17, 34, 37, 40, 44, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 55, 66, 80, 89, 91, 92
--- KDG Holding GmbH (Kabel Deutschland) 38
-- Greece 9, 17, 38, 48, 54, 55, 92
-- Hellas On Line (HOL) 54
-- Ireland 17, 18, 33, 36, 37, 38, 40, 48, 55, 56, 57, 66, 92
--- Netshare Ireland 18
--- SIRO 37, 56, 57, 92
-- Italy 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 19, 20, 35, 37, 40, 48, 49, 55, 58, 64, 66, 80, 91, 92
-- Malta 59, 92
-- Netherlands 17, 60, 62, 92
--- VodafoneZiggo 17, 38, 60, 62, 89, 92
-- Portugal 9, 17, 37, 40, 48
-- Romania 9, 37, 38, 48
-- Spain 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 17, 28, 35, 36, 37, 38, 40, 42, 48, 49, 55, 63, 64, 66, 92
--- Grupo Corporativo Ono (ONO) 37, 38
-- UK 8, 9, 11, 14, 16, 17, 27, 35, 36, 37, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 48, 49, 53, 55, 65, 66, 67, 80, 81, 89, 91, 92, 93
--- Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd 16, 17
--- Talkmobile 67
- Executives
-- Atkinson, Sean 37, 57
-- Beal, Matthew 26
-- Cavaleri, Barbara 37
-- Coimbra, António 37
-- Colao, Vittorio 7, 33, 35, 39
-- Della Valle, Margherita 6, 18, 48, 69
-- Essam, Ahmed 7
-- Fouladi, Babak 38
-- Jeffery, Nick 16, 49
-- Joosub, Shameel 37
-- Liebenberg, Deon 38
-- Lundal, Morten 35
-- Mundy, Jeni 38
-- Odenhoven, Harry 36
-- Paris, Jason 76, 93
-- Read, Nick 6, 16, 20, 39, 41, 47, 65, 71, 76
-- Roman, Francisco 37
-- Schellekens, Ronald 36
-- Sharma, Balesh 36
-- Sood, Sunil 36
-- Stanners, Russell 76
-- Tenorio, Santiago 22
-- Timuray, Serpil 17
-- Wibergh, Johan 13
-- Williams, Matt 38
- Ex-executives
-- Combes, Michel 35
-- Frazao, Rui 45
-- Humm, Philipp 35
-- Jordan, Phil 38
-- Lapusneanu, Alina 89
-- Ryan, Paul 38
- Group 8, 20, 33, 36, 79, 91, 92, 93
-- Partner Markets 29, 30, 31, 32, 53
--- Africa (Afrimax) 32
--- Austria (A1/Telekom Austria) 53
--- Belgium (Proximus) 32, 61
--- Brazil (Grupo Datora Telecom/Vodafone Brasil) 29, 30, 32, 91
--- Chile (Entel PCS) 30
--- Iceland (Vodafone Iceland) 53
--- Kenya (Safaricom) 35, 36, 38, 73, 85, 86, 87, 93
--- Malaysia (Celcom) 38
--- Russia and CIS (MTS) 32
- Vodafone Carrier Services 20, 30
- Vodafone Global Enterprise (VGE) 20, 36
- Vodafone Procurement Company (VPC) 18, 45
--- Tomorrow Street 45
- Vodafone Ventures
--- Vasona Networks (see separate) 45
- Products
--- Business 20, 29
--- Europe 17, 48
--- GigaTV 53, 92
--- Liberty (Malta) 6, 10, 11, 37, 49, 61, 62, 66, 92
--- Mobile Broadband 42
--- One 64
--- Red 36
- Terminals
--- 340 9
- V by Vodafone 39, 40
- Vodafone Cloud 20
- Vodafone Digital Marketplace 89
- Vodafone TV 49, 55, 64, 79
Vodafone Iceland 53
Vodafone Qatar Q.S.C. 32, 71
Volkswagen 33

W

Walt Disney Company, The 64, 66

Z

Zain (MTC) 32
ZTE Corp. 30, 43, 44

  • Another Partner Markets relationship disappears as Vodafone continues to struggle to build links in LatAm.
  • Brand licensing deal unwound.

The Vodafone brand is to disappear from the Brazilian market as part of a repositioning of local Internet of Things (IoT)-focused mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Datora Mobile Telecomunicacoes (DMT).

Previously branded as “Vodafone Brasil”, the business is now known as “Arqia”, following a renaming exercise run in collaboration with the agency FutureBrand in São Paulo. The move was announced on the DMT website by parent Datora Telecom, which has been using the Vodafone brand to market machine-to-machine communications (M2M) and IoT services since 2013 (Vodafonewatch, #147 and passim).

Datora insisted that the MVNO’s repositioning will not impact the services it currently provides, and said Vodafone Brasil SIM cards and connectivity will continue to function as before. The Brazil-based group said it has expanded the agreement with Vodafone Business unit Vodafone IoT, “creating new business models and forms of cooperation between the parties”.

“All this process was fundamental to create Arqia, a brand capable of adding more value to our customers’ business. This repositioning will not impact our service. Our connection and our team will not change, we are just repositioning our brand. ” – Arthur Ribeiro, Marketing Manager, DMT.

Downgrade

While Vodafone has yet to clarify its take on the change, it appears the move distils down its arrangement with Datora from an enterprise-focused Partner Markets tie-up to a customer relationship with Vodafone IoT. Branding is a key element of the Partner Markets offering to service providers and Datora is no longer listed as a Partner Markets member on the Group’s website. Vodafone took a call option on shares in DMT when it formed the partnership with Datora in 2013, but this does not appear to have been exercised – again suggesting this is a relationship that did not meet original expectations.

According to TechinBrazil, DMT is still best known in Brazil as “Datora Mobile”, in spite of the Vodafone branding agreement. According to the news website, DMT is said to have been paying “substantial fees” to Vodafone, reaching BRL 8.5m (EUR2.0m/£1.7m) in 2015 and BRL 4.19m in 2016. TechinBrazil reported that ZTE provides the business’ mobile platform, while Datora Mobile is in the process of moving its enterprise resource planning system from Microsiga to SAP.

Vodafone struggling to learn Latin

The change is another marker of how Group efforts to fill out its Latin American presence have stuttered, ever since it lost a near-region-wide footing via a Partner Markets relationship with América Móvil that was closed off in 2007-2008. In 2017, the Group was thought to be planning a refresh to the focus and terms of its tie-up with Datora within the context of a three-year expansion programme in Latin America’s enterprise and IoT services market (Vodafonewatch, #154).

As previously surmised by Vodafonewatch, the reboot of the deal could tie in with the direct IoT presence Group Enterprise gained in Brazil via the 2014 buyout of connected-car player Cobra Automotive (Vodafonewatch, #124). This business, plus Partner Markets deals with Altice (the Dominican Republic), Entel (in Chile and Peru), and Telecom Argentina, and some disparate Vodafone Carrier Services assets, represent the current extent of Vodafone’s regional reach.

Datora has operated on the Brazilian telecoms market for around 25 years. In 2013 it signed a ten-year partnership agreement to use the Vodafone brand for the DMT IoT venture, which operates on the TIM Brasil network. Datora was in fact the first MVNO – or more accurately, MVNE, as it originally positioned itself as an enabler for MVNOs – to be authorised by Brazilian regulator Anatel, which opened the market to virtual mobile players in late-2010. However, it seems there has been little traction on the MVNO market since then. At the end of 2017, Anatel said there were three authorised MVNOs and ten accredited MVNOs in Brazil altogether, accounting for just 0.3% of the market. Porto Seguro Conecta (562,520 connections, of which 429,256 were M2M-focused) and DMT (201,182 connections, of which 194,742 were M2M-focused) accounted for 97.8% of total MVNO connections by end-2017, according to TechinBrazil. Porto Seguro Conecta, also hosted on the TIM network, ended operational activity in October 2018.

Footprint and revenue in reverse, again.

Vodafone’s soft-power-focused Partner Markets federation is continuing to show reduced heft, in line with the ongoing diminishing of the Group’s international standing within the industry.

Vodafone Sales & Services, the financial entity within which Partner Markets sits, disclosed an accelerated fall in sales of services in the grouping’s portfolio, such as brand licences, consumer and enterprise service resale, and roaming collaboration, in the year ended 31 March 2018 (FY17-18). Revenue dropped 13%, to £138.6m (EUR155.1m) – only around 0.3% of total Group sales for the year.

The federation’s footprint covered 47 countries at 31 March 2018, down from 49 one year earlier and 56 at 31 March 2016.

Once a near-global organisation and marker of Vodafone’s leading position in international telecoms, Partner Markets has appeared in firefighting and retrenchment mode over the past decade, marked by rivals’ alliance-building efforts and increased Group emphasis on its European core.

Botswana signs out

Multiple partners have dropped out of the Partner Markets family since the start of FY17-18, including Afrimax Group (sub-Saharan Africa), KT (South Korea), and now Datora Telecom (Brazil). A 2015 deal with Botswana Telecommunications now also appears to have lapsed (Vodafonewatch, #134).

These exits have been offset by the additions of LG Uplus (South Korea), SoftBank Corp. (Japan), Telecom Argentina, Tunisie Telecom, and renewals with Belgacom (Belgium and Luxembourg) and MTS Group (CIS and Russia). Vodafone Qatar also joined the federation as part of the Group’s exit from the emirate earlier in 2018 (Vodafonewatch, #163). Nonetheless, while Europe and North America are well covered, the federation continues to have only a patchy presence in Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America, hurt by previous breakups with multi-territory players such as América Móvil, the Conexus Mobile Alliance, and Zain Group.

Philippines spurned

Elsewhere, suggestions that Vodafone could make a direct or Partner Markets-based play for the Philippines’ third mobile licence came, unsurprisingly, to nothing. The Group – which had been pitched the opportunity by Filipino government officials (Vodafonewatch, #169) – was not among the three bidders that reportedly participated in the contest.

The licence was won by Mislatel, a consortium backed by China Telecom, China’s largest wireline operator and number-three mobile provider, and Filipino magnate Dennis Uy, chiming with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s earlier expressions of desire for a Chinese-backed group to secure the licence. Mislatel had only two rival bids, both from local businesses (Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corp, plus a consortium of TierOne and LCS Group).

The lack of international operator participation, beyond that of China Telecom, was a likely result of concerns over the licence’s 40%-foreign ownership cap, necessitating potentially risky tie-ups with local partners, plus other regulatory and political concerns around operating locally.

For Vodafone, too, the decision not to get involved reflects the Group’s broader lack of interest in territorial growth opportunities, beyond low-touch Partner Markets deals. Vodafone last made a direct play in a new territory more than a decade ago, in 2007-2008, when it entered Ghana and Qatar (Vodafonewatch, 2007.12 and 2008.07).

Image: Vodafone / Flickr

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