Urban rooftop tower


Vodafonewatch
This release
: #172
February 2019: 66pp
Releases/year: 10+
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Executive brief

Management update

Q3 FY18-19: More fighting talk from Read as slump continues [p.6]

  • New CEO Read's reshuffle still in train
  • Headlines -- too many passengers
  • Table: Vodafone Group revenue summary, Q3 FY18-19
  • Consistency continues to elude
  • Table: Vodafone Europe Region revenue summary, Q3 FY18-19
  • 'AMAP' becomes 'Rest of World'
  • Table: Vodafone Rest of the World Region service revenue summary, Q3 FY18-19
  • Vodafone increasingly becoming 'Europe plus Vodacom, etc'

Group

Deals: Vodafone opts against regional tower spin-out [p.14]

  • 5G network rethink taking precedent
  • Med match-ups
  • Table: Vodafone Europe Region tower assets

Legal and Regulatory: Vodafone hands auditing reins to EY [p.17]

  • Phones 4u shadow
  • Crying foul

Network: IBM tie-up to include Vodafone Cloud reboot [p.19]

  • Table: Vodafone IoT Partner Network by speciality, February 2019

People [p.22]

  • Table: people movements

Supply Chain: Vodafone changes tack in Huawei security storm [p.25]

  • Let's talk
  • UK pressure mounts but German mood music softens; Ireland and Italy hold firm

Suppliers [p.30]

  • Table: Partner/supplier people movement highlights

Europe Region

Germany: VfD ups pressure on BNetzA to change 5G course [p.33]

  • What's all the fuss about?
  • Dommermuth makes his move

Casa Systems highlights DOCSIS 3.1 role [p.36]

UK: Group's hands-dirty savings drive expands to UK [p.39]

Rest of the World Region

Australia: VHA merger with TPG under renewed scrutiny [p.42]

  • Urge to merge
  • Watchdog on guard

Egypt: Telecom Egypt digs in over Vodafone ties [p.45]

Ghana: Vodafone Ghana bats off local float talk [p.47]

India - Vodafone Idea: VfI trumpets early progress in network meld [p.48]

  • Vodafone Idea makes push on NB-IoT smart-metering
  • Other NB-IoT irons in the fire
  • Vodafone Idea to launch new music app
  • Fostering partnerships to drive value

Vodacom Group: Vodacom remains on hold for SA's 4G auction [p.54]

  • Read happy with WOAN dilution
  • Airtel and Telkom to merge to create a stronger challenger to Safaricom

Further reading

Index

A

Accenture 21

Acciona

 - ENDESA 37

Aditya Birla Group

 - Idea Cellular 49, 52

Africa 9, 11, 12, 22, 23, 30, 57, 61

 - Egypt 11, 45, 46, 61

 - Ghana 47, 61

 - Kenya 23, 56, 57, 61

   --  Government 56

 - North Africa 23, 24

 - South Africa 11, 24, 51, 54, 55, 57, 58

 - Sub-Sahara 57

Alfa Group

 - Altimo (Alfa Telecom International Mobile)

 - Turkcell (see Curkurova/TeliaSonera/separate) 35

Altice Group 37

Altran Technologies, SA 30

Amazon.com Inc. 53

Americas

 - USA 29, 35, 37

 - States

  --  Washington 29

Apple 52

Asia Mobility Initiative (AMI Alliance) 50

Asia-Pacific 52

 - Australia 12, 24, 29, 30, 42, 43, 44, 51, 61

 - China 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 43

 - India 12, 24, 48, 50, 51, 52, 56, 61

  --  Licence Circles

   ---   Andhra Pradesh 48

   ---   Assam 48

   ---   Chennai 51

   ---   Delhi 49

   ---   Haryana 48

   ---   Himachal Pradesh 48

   ---   Jammu & Kashmir 48

   ---   Kolkata 48, 49

   ---   Madhya Pradesh 48

   ---   Mumbai 48, 49

   ---   North East 48

   ---   Rajasthan 50

   ---   West Bengal & Andaman and Nicobar 48

 - New Zealand 12, 24, 30, 59

 - Singapore 37

 - Taiwan 37

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) 42, 44, 61

Avanti Communications Group plc 24

Axiata Group Bhd (TM International)

 - India (Idea Cellular, see also Aditya Birla) 12, 24, 46, 48, 49, 50, 52, 53, 61

B

Bain & Co. 24

Banco Santander, SA 24

Bharti Group 52, 56

 - Airtel 52, 56, 61

 - Africa

  --  Kenya 56, 61

 - Bharti Enterprises

 - Comviva Technologies (Bharti Telesoft) 24

British American Tobacco 23

BT Group 24, 26, 27, 28, 37

Bundesliga 37

C

Capitec Bank Holdings Ltd 57

CarePay 57

CGI Group Inc. 21

Ciena Corp. 30

Coca-Cola 23

Commercial Bank of Africa 57

Cukurova Holding

 - Turkcell (see Altimo/TeliaSonera/separate) 35

D

Dell 21, 22, 24

Dell Technologies 21, 22, 24

 - Dell EMC 21, 22

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu 17, 18

Deutsche Telekom 9, 28, 34, 40

 - Europe

  --  UK (EE) 18, 28

Device Insight 21

DIEHL Metering 21

Drillisch AG 35, 60

E

EE (see DT, FT) 18, 28

Electricity Supply Board (Ireland) 29

EMC 21, 22

Ericsson 22, 23, 26, 30, 38, 40, 49

Ernst & Young 17

Europe 7, 8, 9, 12, 15, 16, 22, 23, 25, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 40, 60

 - Central Europe 22

 - Czech Republic 22, 51

 - Finland 28, 34

 - France 22, 30, 57

 - Germany 8, 9, 10, 16, 22, 25, 28, 33, 34, 35, 38, 40, 51, 59, 60

  --  Bundesnetzagentur für Elektrizität, Gas, Telekommunikation, Post und Eisenbahnen (BNetzA, RegTP, FNA, or German Federal Network Agency) 33, 34, 60

   ---   Government 28

   ---   Länder

  --  Bavaria (Munich) 36

  --  North Rhine-Westphalia (Düsseldorf) 40

 - Greece 10, 16, 51

 - Hungary 22

 - Ireland 10, 16, 23, 28, 37, 51

 - Italy 6, 8, 10, 15, 16, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 37, 51, 59

  --  Government 29

 - Luxembourg 37

 - Netherlands 16, 35, 51

 - Poland 37

 - Portugal 10, 16, 37, 38, 60

 - Romania 10, 22, 23

 - Russia 22

 - Scotland 20

 - Spain 6, 7, 8, 10, 15, 16, 23, 24, 28, 38, 51, 60

 - Sweden 22, 23

 - Turkey 9, 11, 12, 16, 22, 28, 38, 51

 - Ukraine 22

 - UK 7, 10, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 37, 38, 39, 40, 59, 60

  --  Ofcom 40

European Union

European Commission 22

F

F5 Networks Inc. 30

Flint Group

 - Mobius 21

Ford Motor Company 22

Formula One 37

G

Google 52

Google Play 52

Grant Thornton UK LLP 21

GSM Association (GSMA) 27, 38, 40, 59

 - Mobile World Congress 27

H

Helios Investment Partners 56

Hisense Electric Co., Ltd. 21

Huawei Technologies 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 34, 37, 40, 42, 43, 49, 59, 61

Hungama Digital Media Entertainment Pvt. Ltd 52

Hutchison Whampoa

 - Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Ltd (VHA, (see Vodafone) 12, 24, 30, 42, 43, 44, 61

I

IBM 19, 24

iDefigo 21

Iliad 10

Ingenico S.A. 21

Inseego 21

J

Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. 38

K

Kenya Commercial Bank 57

KPMG International 18

KPN 35

L

Liberty Global 22, 35

 - UPC Germany GmbH

 - Unitymedia GmbH 36, 37

 - Virgin Media 37

LinkedIn Corp. 22

M

Mahindra Group

 - Tech Mahindra 21

Market segments

 - Fixed broadband 44

 - Mobile virtual network (MVNA/MVNE/MVNO) 35

 - Network-sharing 15

 - Over-the-top (OTT) 35, 53

 - Value-added services (VAS) 24, 45

 - Voice 35, 38, 49

McKinsey & Co 6

Microsoft 20, 23, 24

Middle East 22, 24, 61

 - Egypt 11, 24, 45, 46, 61

 - Qatar 12

MTN 47

 - Ghana (Scancom) 47

N

Nationwide Building Society 24

Nedbank Group Ltd (Nedcor) 57

Netflix Inc. 53

NFL Enterprises LLC 37

Nokia 26, 28, 29, 30, 34, 49, 59

Numerex Corp. 21

NXT 53

O

Ooredoo 35

Orange

 - Kenya (Telkom Kenya, see separate) 56, 61

 - Orange 15

 - Spain 15

 - UK (see EE) 18, 28

P

Pearson plc 24

PepsiCo Inc. 22, 23

Phones4U 17, 18, 59

PwC 17, 18, 59

Q

Qualcomm 21, 40

S

Safaricom 23, 46, 56, 57, 61

 - M-PESA 57

Samsung 26

Siemens 35

SoftBank Corp. 24

Sony Corp. 24

 - Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. 24

Spotify Ltd 52

Standard Bank 57

T

Tech Data 21

Technology

 - 2G 55

  --  GSM 27, 38, 40

 - 3G 34, 55

  --  Evolved HSPA (HSPA+/I-HSPA)

  --  MIMO 48

 - 4G 30, 34, 40, 46, 48, 51, 54, 55, 60, 61

  --  Long Term Evolution (LTE) 38, 40

  --  VoLTE (Voice-over-LTE) 38

 - 5G 9, 10, 15, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 33, 34, 35, 40, 43, 55, 59, 60

 - AI 20

 - Cloud computing 19, 22, 38

 - Data centre 19

 - Fibre 15, 22, 23, 29

 - IoT 20, 21, 50, 51, 61

 - IP 38

 - Narrow Band Internet of Things (NB-IoT) 21, 50, 51

 - RAN 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, 48

 - R&D 26, 28, 50

 - Smartphone 40

 - SMS 40

 - Spectrum 34, 35, 38, 43, 48, 54, 55, 60, 61

  --  700 MHz 43, 55

  --  800 MHz 40, 47, 54

  --  900 MHz 55

  --  1800 MHz 38, 55

  --  2100 MHz 55

  --  2600 MHz 54

  --  3500 MHz 55

 - Telematics 21

  - VDSL 9

 - W-LAN 38

Tele Columbus 35

Telecom Egypt 45, 61

Telecom Italia 15

Telefónica Group 9, 15, 18, 33, 34, 60

 - Europe

  --  UK 15, 18

TeliaSonera

 - Turkcell (see Alfa/Curkurova/separate) 35

Telit 21

Telkom Kenya Ltd (Orange Kenya) 56, 61

Telstra

 - Hong Kong CSL Limited 21

Texas Pacific Group (TPG) 30, 42, 43, 44, 61

Turkcell (see Alfa/Curkurova/TeliaSonera) 35

U

u-blox 21

UEFA 37

 - Champions League 37

Unilever 22

United Internet 9, 33, 35, 60

 - 1&1 Internet 9

V

Vodacom Group 7, 9, 11, 12, 23, 24, 46, 47, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61

 - Group 7, 9, 11, 12, 23, 46, 47, 54, 56, 57, 58, 61

 - Lesotho 57

 - Products

  --  Please Call Me 58

 - South Africa 11, 24, 51, 54, 55, 57, 58

 - Tanzania 24, 47

 - Vodacom Business 23

Vodafone

 - Africa, Middle East, and Asia Pacific Region (AMAP) 7, 9, 11, 12

  --  Africa 9, 11, 12, 22, 23, 30, 57, 61

  --  Asia 52

  --  Australia 12, 29, 30, 42, 43, 44, 51, 61

   ---   VHA Pty. Ltd (see Hutchison Whampoa) 30, 42, 43, 44

  --  Egypt 11, 12, 24, 45, 46, 61

  --  Ghana 12, 47, 61

  --  India 12, 24, 48, 50, 51, 52, 56, 61

  --  Japan 24

  --  Kenya (see Safaricom) 23, 46, 56, 57, 61

  --  Middle East 22, 24

  --  New Zealand 12, 24, 30, 37, 59

   ---   TelstraClear 37

  --  Qatar (see Vodafone and Qatar Foundation and Vodafone Qatar) 12, 46

  --  South Africa (see Vodacom) 7, 9, 11, 12, 23, 24, 46, 47, 51, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61

  --  Turkey 7, 9, 11, 12, 16, 22, 28, 38, 51

    ---   Board of Directors

    ---   Nish, David 17

  --  Europe Region 7, 8, 9, 12, 32, 60

  --  Czech Republic 22, 51

  --  Germany 7, 8, 9, 10, 16, 22, 24, 25, 28, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 40, 51, 59, 60

   ---   KDG Holding GmbH (Kabel Deutschland) 36

  --  Greece 10, 16, 51

   ---  Zelitron 21

  --  Hungary 22

  --  Ireland 10, 16, 23, 28, 29, 37, 40, 51

   ---   SIRO 29, 59

  --  Italy 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 37, 51, 59

  --  Netherlands 16, 35, 38, 51

   ---   VodafoneZiggo 16, 37, 38

  --  Portugal 10, 16, 37, 38, 60

  --  Romania 10, 22, 23

  --  Spain 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 22, 23, 24, 28, 37, 38, 51, 60

   ---   Grupo Corporativo Ono (ONO) 23, 37

  --  UK 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 37, 38, 39, 40, 59, 60

   ---   Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd 15, 16

  -  Executives

   --  Badrinath, Vivek 7, 22

  --  Bisio, Aldo 29

  --  Coimbra, António 23

  --  Colao, Vittorio 6, 7, 10, 12

  --  Della Valle, Margherita 6, 39

  --  Gliddon, Nick 51

  --  Heeran, Fran 38

  --  Hitchcock, Albert 24

  --  Humphries, Brian 22

  --  Joosub, Shameel 7, 54, 57

  --  Lorilloux, Murielle 23

  --  Mensah, Gayheart 47

  --  Parbutt, Nick 22

  --  Paris, Jason 30

  --  Read, Nick 6, 7, 14, 19, 25, 39, 55

  --  Roman, Francisco 23

  --  Schellekens, Ronald 22, 23

  --  Sharma, Balesh 52

  --  Stanica, Gabriela 23

  --  Teggart, Sean 23

  --  Timuray, Serpil 7, 16

  --  Vishant, Vora 49

 - Ex-executives

  --  Humm, Philipp 12

 - Group 9, 22, 24, 30, 38, 59

 - Headquarters 30, 39, 40

 - Partner Markets 20, 21

  --  Belgium (Proximus) 37

  --  Kenya (Safaricom) 23, 46, 56, 57, 61

  -- Vodafone Global Enterprise (VGE) 22

  -- Vodafone Procurement Company (VPC) 14

  -- Vodafone Ventures

   --- Device Insight (see separate) 21

 - Products

   ---   At Home 36, 37, 60

   ---   Business 19, 22

   ---   Casa 36, 37, 60

   ---   Europe 10, 16

   ---   GigaTV 35

   ---   Liberty (Malta) 22, 35

   ---   Mobile Broadband 26, 40

   ---   Please Call Me 58

   ---   Vodafone Cloud 19

Vodafone Qatar Q.S.C. 46

Volkswagen 35

W

Wipro 24

Z

ZTE Corp. 29, 30, 59

  • OpCos look to have won battle for national-level tower refresh, rather than wide-scale M&A move.
  • Centralisation still on agenda, though, via coming, Vodafone Procurement Company-style infrastructure services outfit.

Nick Read, Chief Executive (CEO) of Vodafone, revealed the operator has dropped plans for a pan-European strategic tower partnership and/or sell-off, after an ongoing review of its infrastructure operations identified fiscal and strategic barriers.

Read – who has placed a European tower shake-up at the centre of his post-succession agenda (Vodafonewatch, #168-#171) – said the operator was “no longer considering monetisation options at a pan-European level for our towers”.

A regional tie-up with a private equity or infrastructure specialist, accompanied by a minority tower unit divestment, was first mooted by Read in September 2018, with the CEO under shareholder pressure to explore new ways to revive cash flow. However, Read said Vodafone now sees this plan as having potential to create “frictional costs in setting up new, independent tower legal entities, such as capital gains tax, as well as different strategic considerations”.

Vodafone still appears interested in creating a central tower unit, to more aggressively sell mast tenancies to European rivals – but the idea now appears to be to keep it bound within the Group’s existing organisation, rather than spun out.

“On top of the market-by-market sharing arrangements, we continue to see a material opportunity to unlock efficiencies and drive improved tenancy ratios through establishing a virtual TowerCo across our European markets, with dedicated management focus. ” – Read.

5G network rethink taking precedent

A further barrier to a spin-off is that Vodafone – in what some might see as a sign of OpCo pushback against Group-level ambitions – looks now to be leaning towards a market-by-market, 5G-focused refresh of mobile network-sharing arrangements. Until completed, this blurs the outlook for any new central tower entity.

This nationally-focused approach was highlighted in January 2019, with the announcement of (yet another) shake-up of Vodafone UK’s Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure joint venture with Telefónica UK (Vodafonewatch, #170 and #171). Based on the two British operators’ provisional agreement – which Vodafone hopes to firm up within the coming six months – the plan envisages a rollback of active-sharing in urban markets, to allow OpCos’ greater flexibility in configuration of networks and service delivery, while expanding consolidation of active and passive resource outside of cities (where around three-quarters of Vodafone’s sites are located). Vodafone and Telefónica have also mooted interest in sharing of fibre transmission assets.

Once these refreshed network-sharing arrangements are bedded in, in-market tower operations might still be “monetised”, but on a national rather than regional level. In its latest quarterly results presentation, Vodafone indicated it was “exploring industrial and financial opportunities” around tower operations “on a market-by-market basis”.

Med match-ups

Regarding new national network partners, Read said Vodafone was now “actively engaged in discussions across multiple markets” beyond the UK.

Italy and Spain – two markets where Vodafone is feeling particular competitive pressure – have been flagged as territories where alternative 5G rollout options are being considered. Partnership negotiations have been mooted with Infrastrutture Wireless Italiane, the tower arm of Telecom Italia, following the country’s pricey 2018 5G auction, while Orange Spain and Vodafone Spain were recently flagged to be trialling a new tower-sharing arrangement that could be extended to other OpCos (Vodafonewatch, ##169-#171). “We want to work with partners who share our focus on high-quality services, maintaining a network differentiation versus value-focused players”, stressed Read.

In the meantime, the Group’s strategic review of tower assets is believed to be continuing, with a view to completion in the coming weeks. The study is thought to be considering the future of nearly 80,000 sites across Europe, of which around 57,000 are Vodafone-controlled. Within the footprint under review, Vodafone has an average tenancy ratio of 1:1.4 on towers (1:1.2 on rooftop masts, and 1:1.7 on ground masts), and Read made clear he sees potential to “lease up further”, and sweat greater revenue from assets.

See the full February release of Vodafonewatch for more on this story, including a table charting Vodafone’s Europe region tower assets.

Image: Ericsson

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