Behesht-e Zahra, Tehran, Iran

Vodafone’s Partner Markets federation expanded its reach into Iran for the first time by linking up with HiWEB, a local wireline and mobile service provider.

The deal – stressed as a “non-equity” arrangement by Vodafone – will see HiWEB provide local support to Vodafone Global Enterprise clients operating in Iran, while Vodafone is to reciprocate by assisting the provider on expansion and modernisation of its infrastructure. Other areas of collaboration will include “marketing, distribution and sales, including the provision of Internet of Things [IoT] services to HiWEB’s customers”, Vodafone added.

HiWEB has not flagged a major presence in IoT, but the provider appears to have been expanding its mobile operations in general over recent years, securing an LTE licence in 2014, and in 2015 winning a government contract to supply wireless data services to 25,000 villages across Iran. Its longer running wireline business was originally state-controlled, but was privatised in 2009, and appears largely corporate customer-focused.

The deal with HiWEB broadens Vodafone’s rivalry with South Africa’s MTN Group, which minority (49%) owns Iran’s second-largest mobile player Irancell.

The deal does not appear to involve one of the Group brand licensing arrangements adopted by some other Partner Markets members.

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Back in the game

The tie-up comes amid a broader wave of business development by European companies in Iran, following the 2015 international agreement on the country’s nuclear programme and subsequent gradual lifting of sanctions. Orange revealed in late-August 2016 that it was in talks over a “number of areas of potential cooperation and business topics” with Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran, the country’s largest mobile operator. A Vodafone spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal that the USA’s decision in October 2016 to lift restrictions on dollar trading by Iran was “helpful” for the deal, but the broader easing of international sanctions, initiated in January 2016, was the “main driver”.

The UK’s Confederation of British Industry welcomed Vodafone’s move, noting that “businesses recognise there are emerging opportunities in Iran. As with other Gulf states, Iran has a growing middle class and infrastructure, energy, and educational projects in need of foreign investment”.

While the deal is Vodafone’s first public move in Iran, the operator has previously been signalled as showing interest in the market, and its rare international forays can often gestate for several years before being realised. Reports linked both Vodafone and Vodacom Group with a play for a mobile licence in Iran during the early-2000s (Vodafonewatch, 2003.08 and 2004.02).

One MENA gap filled

It seems plausible that the tie-up may be followed up by other Partner Markets deals in the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, as the Group seeks to build its presence after the recent loss of regional operator Zain Group from the federation (Vodafonewatch, #148).

North Africa in particular has long been an area where Vodafone has evidently coveted a greater presence. Reports in recent years have mooted interest in opportunities in Algeria, as well as a revival of Partner Markets’ reach into Libya (Vodafonewatch, #110, #130, #131, and #142). According to its latest Annual Report, the Group also has a local, 79.75%-owned business unit in Morocco, Vodafone Maroc. A Group spokesperson declined to comment on the unit’s focus.

Image: CC BY 2.0 yeowatzup/Flickr.

Table of Contents

3 Executive brief
5 Group
6 M&A
9 People
12 Global Technology
16 Group Commercial
20 Supply chain
21 Europe
22 Germany
22 Ireland
23 Greece
23 Italy
26 Malta
27 Netherlands
28 Portugal
34 UK
42 Africa, Middle East, and Asia‑Pacific Region
43 Australia — Vodafone Hutchison Australia
43 Egypt
45 India
50 Kenya — Safaricom
51 New Zealand
52 Turkey
53 Vodacom — South Africa
57 Further reading
61 Index

Index

Symbols

3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 14, 16, 26
5G Automotive Association 14

A

Aditya Birla Group
– Idea Cellular 46, 47, 48
Africa 42, 53
– Congo 15
– Egypt 43, 44, 45
– Kenya 9, 18, 50, 55
– Libya 18
– Morocco 18
– North Africa 18
– South Africa 10, 17, 20, 22, 28, 53, 54, 55
– – Department of Communications (DOC) 43
– – Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) 54
– Tanzania 18
Africa Analysis 53
Alfa Group
– Altimo (Alfa Telecom International Mobile)
– – Turkcell (see Curkurova/TeliaSonera/separate) 52
Altice Group 30
Americas
– Canada 10, 48
– USA 18
Analysys Mason 34
AppDirect 20
Asia-Pacific
– Australia 17, 43, 44
– – National Broadband Network (NBN) 43
– China 16, 52, 55
– – Province/Municipality/Region
– – – Shanghai 16
– Fiji
– – Commerce Commission 6, 51
– India 9, 45, 46, 48
– – Department of Telecommunications (DoT) 54
– – Licence Circles 47
– – – Andhra Pradesh 46, 47
– – – Assam 47
– – – Bihar 47
– – – Chennai 46, 47
– – – Delhi 46, 47
– – – Gujarat 46, 47
– – – Haryana 46, 47
– – – Himachal Pradesh 47
– – – Jammu & Kashmir 47
– – – Karnataka 46, 47
– – – Kerala 46, 47
– – – Kolkata 46, 47
– – – Madhya Pradesh 47
– – – Maharashtra 47
– – – Mumbai 46, 47
– – – Orissa 47
– – – Punjab 47
– – – Rajasthan 47
– – – Tamil Nadu 46, 47
– – – Uttar Pradesh (West) 46, 47
– – – West Bengal & Andaman and Nicobar 46, 47
– New Zealand 6, 7, 20, 28, 51
– – Commerce Commission (New Zealand) 6, 7, 51
– South Korea 14
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) 44
Axiata Group Bhd (TM International)
– India (Idea Cellular, see also Aditya Birla) 46, 47, 48

B

Bank of America 48
– Merrill Lynch 48
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) 47
Bharti Group 9, 45, 46, 47, 48
– Airtel 9, 45, 46, 47, 48, 50
– – Africa
– – – Kenya 50
– – Bharti Infratel 48
– Bharti Enterprises 9
– Indus Towers 48
– Mittal, Sunil Bharti 9
BMW Group 12, 14
BT Group 20, 24, 34, 35, 36, 37
– Openreach 24, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37

C

China Mobile 16
Cisco Systems 29
Cukurova Holding
– Turkcell (see Altimo/TeliaSonera/separate) 52

D

Dennis Publishing 10
Deutsche Bahn 22
Deutsche Telekom 7, 9, 10, 12, 16, 20
– Europe
– – Netherlands 7, 17
– – UK (EE) 20, 38
– Germany 22, 32
– Investments
– – OTE (see separate) 9

E

eBay
– PayPal 36
EE (see DT, FT) 20, 38
Electricity Supply Board (Ireland) 22, 24, 32
Emblaze Group
– European Telecom 12
Enel SpA 24, 32
Ericsson 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 20, 29, 46, 55
Etisalat 44
– Etisalat Misr (Egypt) 44
Europe 10, 12, 15, 16, 21, 31, 32, 34, 38
– Albania 9
– Czech Republic 15, 17, 32
– Denmark 18
– France 18
– Germany 14, 17, 20, 22, 28, 29, 32, 36
– – Länder
– – – Bavaria (Munich) 29
– Greece 9, 23, 28, 32
– Hungary 15, 32, 36
– Ireland 8, 17, 20, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 32, 34
– – Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) 32
– Italy 9, 17, 20, 23, 24, 28, 32
– – Cassa Depositi e Prestiti 24
– – Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (AGCOM) 23, 24
– Malta 9, 26
– – Communications Authority 26
– Netherlands 7, 8, 9, 17, 23, 27, 28, 29, 32, 36
– Portugal 28, 29, 30, 31, 32
– – ANACOM 30, 31
– Romania 9, 28, 32, 52
– – Autoritatea Naţională pentru Administrare şi Reglementare în Comunicaţii (Ancom/ANC/ANRCTI/ANRC) 32
– Spain 15, 17, 18, 28, 29, 30, 32, 36
– Turkey 17, 52
– United Kingdom (UK) 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 23, 24, 28, 29, 32, 34, 35, 36, 38, 39, 40, 52
– – Advertising Standards Authority 35
– – Office of Communications (Ofcom) 15, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40
European Automotive-Telecom Alliance 12
European Competitive Telecommunications Association 12
European Union 15, 31, 36
– European Commission 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 30, 31, 38

F

Ford Motor Company
– Volvo 12
Forthnet 32

G

Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) 14
GCI 20
– Outsourcery 20
GlaxoSmithKline 9
Google 20
Grundfos Holding AS 18
GSM Association (GSMA) 9, 10, 12, 44

H

HiWEB 17
Huawei Technologies 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 46, 52, 55
Hutchison Whampoa 10
– Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Ltd (VHA, (see Vodafone) 10, 22, 43, 44
Hyundai 12

I

IBM 13
Indus Towers 48
Inmarsat 16
Intel 14

K

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts 48
KPN 7, 8, 9, 12, 17, 20, 32

L

Liberty Global 8, 9, 29
– Virgin Media 8, 32, 34
– Ziggo 7, 8, 9, 29, 32

M

Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) 46
Market segments
– Contactless payment (NFC) 36
– Fixed broadband 28
– Mobile broadband 15, 27, 34
– Mobile virtual network (MVNA/MVNE/MVNO) 24
– M-payment 36
– Network-sharing 31, 32, 35, 48, 52
– Over-the-top (OTT) 17, 28, 45, 54
– Value-added services (VAS) 6, 28
– Voice 45, 48
Metroweb S.p.A. 24, 32
Microsoft 20
– Office 365 20
Middle East 18
– Egypt 43, 44, 45
– – National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA) 43, 44
– Iran 17, 18
– Syria 10
Mondia Media Group GmbH 45
MTN 10, 17, 53
– South Africa 53

N

NEC 20
Next Generation Mobile Network Initiative 9
Next Generation Mobile Networks 9
Nokia 12, 14, 46
NZ Communications
– 2degrees 6

O

Oracle 12, 13
Orange
– Orange 18, 32, 44
– – Kenya (Telkom Kenya, see separate) 50
– Spain 32
– UK (see EE) 20, 38
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 34
OTE (Hellenic Telecom. Org. SA, see DT) 9

P

Permira
– Genesys Telecommunications Labs 22

Q

Qualcomm 14, 27

R

RCS & RDS SA 9, 32
– Digi Mobil 9
RealNetworks 28
Rogers Communications 10

S

Safaricom 9, 50, 55
– Ex-executives
– – Joseph, Michael 9
– M-PESA 18, 55
Samsung 20
Singapore Telecom
– Optus (Australia) 43
SK Telecom 14
Sky Network Television 6
Somfy 18
Sonaecom 32
– Optimus 32
Supreme Court 32
Swisscom
– Fastweb 23, 24, 32

T

TalkTalk Telecom Group plc 32, 35, 37
Technology
– 2.5G 45, 47
– 2G 45, 47
– – GSM 9, 12, 44
– 3G 48, 55
– – Evolved HSPA (HSPA+/I-HSPA)
– – – MIMO 15, 16, 27
– – HSUPA 55
– 4G 17, 26, 27, 43, 44, 45, 46, 48, 50, 54, 55
– – Long Term Evolution (LTE) 14, 16, 17, 22, 26, 27, 32, 46, 50, 54
– – – LTE TDD 16
– 5G 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 38, 52
– Cloud computing 20, 29, 55
– DSL 18, 32
– Fibre 18, 22, 23, 24, 26, 30, 31, 32, 34, 35, 36, 52
– – FTTC 32
– – FTTP 22, 23, 24, 34, 35, 36
– FTTH 32, 35
– GPS 46
– IP 53
– IVR 22
– MMS 55
– Narrow Band Internet of Things (NB-IoT) 16, 17
– NGN 23, 24, 32
– OFDM 16
– RBT 28
– R&D 13, 14, 15, 16
– RF 16
– SIM 14
– Smartphone 27
– SMS 55
– Spectrum 15, 16, 26, 38, 43, 45, 47, 50, 52, 53, 54
– – 700 MHz 43, 45, 54
– – 800 MHz 26, 27, 38, 45, 50, 54
– – 900 MHz 26, 38, 43, 45, 47, 50
– – 1800 MHz 26, 27, 38, 43, 45, 47, 50
– – 2100 MHz 26, 27, 38, 43, 45, 47, 50
– – 2500 MHz 45, 47
– – 2600 MHz 15, 16, 26, 27, 38, 54
– – Digital dividend 26, 43
– USSD 55
– VDSL 35
– VDSL2 36
Telecom Egypt 43, 44
Telecom Italia 23, 24, 32
Telefónica Group 12, 22, 32, 34, 35, 38
– Europe 32, 38
– – España 32
– – Germany 22
– – UK 34, 35, 38
TeleManagement Forum
– TM Forum 12, 13
Telenor ASA 9
TeliaSonera
– Turkcell (see Alfa/Curkurova/separate) 52
Telkom Kenya Ltd (Orange Kenya) 50
Telkom South Africa 53
Telstra 20, 43, 44
Texas Pacific Group (TPG) 43
The Open Group 12
Tiscali 24
TiVo 29
Turkcell (see Alfa/Curkurova/TeliaSonera) 52

U

UPC 32
uSwitch 40

V

Vodacom Group 9, 15, 18, 22, 28, 53, 54, 55
– Congo 15
– Group 9, 18, 28, 54, 55
– Lesotho 15
– South Africa 10, 17, 20, 22, 28, 53, 54, 55
– Tanzania 15, 18
Vodafone
– Africa, Middle East, and Asia Pacific Region (AMAP) 42
– – Africa 42, 53
– – Australia 17, 43, 44
– – – VHA Pty. Ltd (see Hutchison Whampoa) 10, 43, 44
– – Egypt 22, 43, 44, 45
– – India 9, 45, 46, 47, 48
– – – Indus Towers 48
– – – Vodafone Shared Services Ltd 9
– – Kenya (see Safaricom) 9, 18, 50, 55
– – Middle East 18
– – New Zealand 6, 7, 15, 20, 22, 28, 51
– – South Africa (see Vodacom) 9, 10, 15, 17, 18, 20, 22, 28, 53, 54, 55
– – Turkey 17, 52
– Europe Region 10
– – Albania 9
– – Cable & Wireless Worldwide 32
– – Czech Republic 15, 17, 20, 32
– – Germany 14, 17, 20, 22, 28, 29, 32, 36
– – – KDG Holding GmbH (Kabel Deutschland) 29, 32
– – Greece 9, 22, 23, 28, 32
– – – Hellas On Line (HOL) 23, 32
– – Hungary 15, 32, 36
– – Ireland 8, 10, 17, 20, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 32, 34, 55
– – – Complete Telecom 32
– – Italy 9, 17, 20, 23, 24, 28, 32, 36
– – Malta 9, 15, 26
– – Netherlands 7, 8, 9, 10, 17, 23, 27, 28, 29, 32, 36
– – – Wiericke 7, 32
– – Portugal 28, 29, 30, 31, 32
– – Romania 9, 15, 28, 32, 52
– – Spain 15, 17, 28, 29, 30, 32, 36
– – – Grupo Corporativo Ono (ONO) 29, 32
– – UK 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 23, 24, 28, 29, 32, 34, 35, 36, 38, 39, 40, 52
– – – Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd 35
– Executives
– – Berroeta, Iñaki 43
– – Bertoluzzo, Paulo 9
– – Colao, Vittorio 24, 31
– – Gastaut, Stefano 44
– – Ibbetson, Luke 15
– – Iskos, Lampros 9
– – Joosub, Shameel 54
– – Joseph, Michael 9
– – Koomen, Liesbeth 51
– – Lloyd, Dan 44
– – Morris, Paul 34
– – Mundy, Jeni 20
– – Read, Nick 31
– – Timuray, Serpil 9
– – Wibergh, Johan 9
– Ex-executives
– – Barron, Niall 27
– – Beju, Mircea 9
– – Doveren, Peter 9
– – Fitzgerald, Celine 10
– – Fry, Paul 9
– – Gent, Sir Christopher 10
– – Ghosh, Asim 10
– – Humm, Philipp 10
– – Laurence, Guy 10
– – Shuter, Rob 10
– – Srivastava, Praveen 9
– Group 9, 17, 20, 52
– – Group Marketing 10
– – Headquarters 16, 17
– – Partner Markets 10, 17, 18
– – – Kenya (Safaricom) 9, 50, 55
– – R&D
– – – Competence Centre 28, 29
– – Strategy
– – – EVO 9
– – Vodafone Automotive (formerly Cobra Automotive Technologies) 14
– – Vodafone Global Enterprise (VGE) 17
– Products
– – At Home 29
– – Casa 29
– – Casa TV 29
– – Europe 32
– – Liberty (Malta) 8, 9, 29, 32
– – Mobile Broadband 20
– – Red 34
– – Vodafone Digital Marketplace 20
– – Vodafone TV 23, 28

W

Webroot 20
WPP
– G2 Worldwide 55

Z

Zain (MTC) 18

About

About Vodafonewatch

Report: #149
Covering: November 2016
Published: November 2016
Next report: December 2016
For more information visit: Vodafonewatch