Vodafonewatch
This release
: #178
August 2019: 54pp
Releases/year: 10+
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Executive brief

Management update

Q1 FY19-20: Clear-out stepped up as Liberty buyout goes through [p6]

Some positivity, but changes and challenges ahead

Disjointed data

Table: Vodafone Group, revenue summary, Q1 FY19-20

Europe Region: Italy reviving but Spain still in pain; Germany holds fort

Table: Vodafone Europe Region, service revenue summary, Q1 FY19-20

And the Rest: Vodacom not past challenges

Table: Vodafone Rest of the World Region, service revenue summary, Q1 FY19-20

Deals

Group

Deals: Vodafone targets Deutsche Telekom for tower tie-up [p13]

Time of essence for Vodafone…

…but DT's Höttges plays hard to get

Around the markets

Vodafone in talks on wholesale 2G/3G switch [p18]

Club Med getaway

2G or not 2G

Liberty deal approval triggers Deutsche Telekom [p21]

Final act for Group synergy play

Legal and regulatory

Network

People

Table: People movement highlights

Social Responsibility

Supply chain

Europe Region

Germany: VfD goes large on 5G coverage [p29]

Speeds and caps

Huawei in the game

Read likes speed tiering

Coverage? Much obliged

5G roaming up and running in Europe, and Rest of the World in sights too

Vodafone's lunar 4G project loses thrust [p32]

Still on a mission

Ireland: SIRO gets €200m funding boost [p34]

Broadband catch-up

Germany

Italy

Netherlands

UK: More detail on Phones 4u 'price-fixing' controversy [p37]

Who said what to whom?

Peers respond

Wider probe urged

Rest of the World Region

India: VfI remains leery of 5G reserve prices [p43]

Pricey 3.5GHz

Terms and conditions

India: Amdocs gets on board with VfI IT meld [p45]

Australia -- Vodafone Hutchison Australia

Ghana

Vodacom Group: Ethiopian opportunities in pipeline [p47]

Format not clear but interest evident

South Africa becomes ninth V by Vodafone territory

Further reading

A

Africa 7, 8, 10, 11, 24, 26, 48

Egypt 8, 10, 11

Ethiopia 47, 48, 52

Ghana 46, 52

Kenya 11

Nigeria 46

South Africa 8, 10, 11, 25, 48, 49

Tanzania 11, 52

Amazon.com Inc. 40

Amdocs 45, 52

Americas

Latin America 11

USA 24, 26

Anheuser-Busch 38

Apple 38, 48

App Store 48

iPhone 38

Arqiva 26

Asia-Pacific 26

Australia 6, 11, 24, 26, 46, 52

China 26, 27

Fiji 11

India 6, 10, 11, 17, 26, 36, 43, 44, 45, 52

DoT 44, 52

Licence Circles

Madhya Pradesh 39

Reserve Bank of India 44

TRAI 43, 44, 52

New Zealand 50

RBI 44

South Korea 36

AT&T 27

ACCC 46

Aviva plc 25

B

Bharti Group 17, 43

Airtel 17, 43, 47, 52

Africa 47

Bharti Infratel 17

Indus Towers 17

BNP Paribas S.A. 34

British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) 40

BT Group 11, 25, 27, 35, 38

EE (see DT, FT) 37, 38, 39

C

China Mobile 27

CK Hutchison Holdings

VHA (Vodafone) 11, 26, 46, 52

Comcast Corp. 40

D

Deutsche Telekom 13, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 26, 27, 29, 31, 36, 37, 50, 51

Diageo plc 38

Digital Route AB 26

Dixons Carphone 38

Drillisch AG 14, 31

E

Electricity Supply Board (Ireland) 34

Ericsson 31, 36, 45, 48, 52

Etisalat 47

Europe 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 25, 28, 31, 33, 50, 51

Albania 17

Czech Republic 17, 21, 30

Germany 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 21, 22, 23, 25, 29, 30, 31, 33, 36, 49, 50, 51

BNetzA 31, 51

Greece 9, 17, 49

Hungary 17, 21, 30, 50

Ireland 9, 11, 17, 34, 35, 38, 49, 51

Italy 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 24, 36, 49, 50, 51

Luxembourg 16

Malta 17

Netherlands 14, 17, 25, 36, 51

Portugal 9, 17, 49

Romania 9, 17, 21, 30, 50

Spain 8, 9, 11, 15, 25, 30, 31, 49

Sweden 11, 26

Turkey 8, 10, 24, 25, 49

United Kingdom (UK) 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 23, 24, 25, 37, 38, 39, 40, 49, 50, 51

FCO 23

Ofcom 40

European Space Agency 33

European Union 50

European Commission 21, 22, 30, 50

F

Fastweb (Swisscom) 16

Flytxt 25

Ford Motor Company 23

Fujitsu 23

G

Google 24, 48

GSM Association (GSMA) 36, 46

H

HSBC 34

Huawei Technologies 30, 48

I

IBM 45

Infratil Ltd 11

IPCom 23

K

KPN 17

L

Liberty Global 6, 11, 21, 22, 25, 30, 50

Virgin Media 40

M

MasterCard 48

McGraw-Hill Companies, The

Standard & Poor s (S&P) 22, 50

Middle East 24

Egypt 8, 10, 11

Qatar 11

MTN 24, 25, 26, 47, 48, 52

N

NatWest 34

Netflix Inc. 40

Nike Inc. 24

Nissan 26, 38

Nokia 33, 45

NTT 27

O

Oger Telecom

Cell C 48

Oracle 25

Orange 11, 15, 37, 47, 52

P

Pearson plc 26

Phones4U 37, 38, 39, 51

PTScientists 32, 33, 51

PwC 37

Q

Qantas Airways Ltd 26

R

Renault 38

Royal Bank of Canada 34

S

Safaricom 26, 44, 46, 48

Samsung 30

Singapore Telecom 27

Optus (Australia) 46

SK Telecom 27

Sunrise 38

T

TalkTalk Telecom Group plc 25

Tanla Solutions 26

Tata Communications 24

Technology

2G 7, 16, 18, 19, 36, 44, 48

GSM 36, 46

3G 7, 16, 18, 19, 36, 43, 44, 48

4G 10, 16, 23, 29, 30, 32, 36, 38, 43, 48

LTE 27, 32, 36

5G 7, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 29, 30, 31, 36, 40, 43, 44, 50, 51, 52

Cellular Vehicle to Everything 23

Cloud computing 26, 47

Fibre 17, 22, 34, 35

IoT 19, 23, 27, 49

NB-IoT 23

SIM 29, 30

Smartphone 29, 30, 48, 49

Spectrum 10, 19, 43, 44, 52

700 MHz 29, 44, 51

800 MHz 44

1800 MHz 44

2500 MHz 44

3500 MHz 36, 43, 44

TIM (Telecom Italia) 16, 18, 19, 27, 50

Telefónica Group 11, 13, 14, 17, 19, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 31, 36, 37, 39, 50

Vivo Participacoes SA 18, 19

TeliaSonera 27

Telkom South Africa 48

Telstra 46

Texas Pacific Group (TPG) 6, 11

The Royal Mencap Society 27

Thomson Reuters Corp. 52

U

UniCredit Group 24

Unilever 26

United Nations 27

V

Verizon Communications 26, 27, 38

Vocus Communications 26

Vodacom 8, 10, 24, 25, 26, 47, 48, 49, 52

Group 8, 10, 25, 47, 48, 49, 52

South Africa 8, 10, 11, 25, 48, 49

Tanzania 11, 47

Vodafone

Africa, Middle East, and Asia Pacific Region (AMAP) 8, 10

Africa 7, 8, 10, 11, 24, 26, 48

Asia 26

Australia 6, 11, 24, 26, 46, 52

Egypt 8, 10, 11

Ghana 24, 25, 26, 46, 52

India 6, 10, 11, 17, 26, 36, 43, 44, 45, 52

Indus Towers 17

Kenya (see Safaricom) 11, 26, 48

Middle East 24

New Zealand 6, 11

Pacific 26

Qatar 11

South Africa (see Vodacom) 8, 10, 11, 24, 25, 26, 47, 48, 49, 52

Turkey 8, 10, 24, 25, 49

Board of Directors

Kleisterlee, Gerard 7

Corporate

Vodafone Investments Luxembourg Sarl (VIL) 52

Europe Region 9, 13, 15, 28, 31, 51

Albania 17

Czech Republic 17, 21, 30

Germany 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 21, 22, 23, 25, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 36, 49, 50, 51

Greece 9, 17, 49

Hungary 17, 21, 26, 30, 50

Ireland 9, 11, 17, 22, 26, 31, 34, 35, 38, 49

SIRO 34, 35

Italy 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 24, 25, 31, 36, 49, 50, 51

Malta 17

Netherlands 14, 17, 322, 25, 36, 51

Portugal 9, 17, 24, 26, 49

Romania 9, 17, 21, 26, 30, 31, 50

Spain 8, 9, 11, 15, 25, 30, 31, 36, 49

UK 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 49, 50, 51

CTIL 13, 14, 17, 50

Executives

Ametsreiter, Hannes 29

Berroeta, Inaki 26

Della Valle, Margherita 7

Essam, Ahmed 24

Graham, Kenny 24

Joseph, Michael 26

Kumar, Vinod 24

Lal, Namrata 24

McDonald, Nick 24

Read, Nick 6, 11, 13, 18, 21, 24, 30, 40

Sharma, Balesh 43, 44

Temple, Rebecca 24

Wood, Leanne 26

Ex-executives

Colao, Vittorio 26

Cramer, Warrick 24

Cuba, Yolanda 25

Donovan, Paul 26

Fernández, Antonio 25

Gangotra, Amrita 26

Humphries, Brian 24

Laurence, Guy 37, 38

Martins de Oliveira, Sara 24

Rao, Mallik 25

Group 8, 26, 50, 51

Americas 24

Partner Markets 11, 24

Belgium (Proximus) 36

Kenya (Safaricom) 26, 48

VPC 16, 24

Tomorrow Street 24

Vodafone Ventures 24

Products

Business 24, 27, 45

Cash 46

Europe 9

GigaTV 22

Lifestyle (Ireland) 26

Mobile Connect 36

Red 40

Small Business (UK) 25

Terminals

540 35

V by Vodafone 49

Vodafone TV 25, 40

Volkswagen 33

W

WPP 40

Z

ZTE Corp. 48

  • Different data caps, not speed tiering, guide 5G pricing.
  • 700MHz airwaves now available to support network rollout.
  • Live 5G roaming in 55 European cities and towns.

Vodafone Germany (VfD) flicked the 5G switch in parts of 20 cities, making a much bolder move on coverage than main rival Telekom Deutschland (TDE). The incumbent could only muster a six-city launch and does not expect to have 5G signals in 20 German cities until 2020.

Speeds and caps

Hannes Ametsreiter, Chief Executive at VfD, implied that the OpCo’s more granular tariffs will encourage widespread 5G adoption. “We are democratising 5G”, he claimed. “With us, 5G isn’t just a technology only for high earners”.

Unlike Vodafone UK, which offers “unlimited” data on all 5G plans but adjusts prices by throttling speeds (Vodafonewatch, #177), VfD offers data caps but no speed restrictions. The lowest promotional 5G tariff offered by VfD is a SIM-only plan at €14.99 (£13.68)-per-month, which includes a €5 add-on to the lowest 4G offer. There are a couple of snags. First, it is only eligible for customers up to the age of 28 years. Second, the associated data cap is 2GB. This will probably be used up in a matter of seconds by devices streaming or downloading video when connected to the much faster 5G network.

VfD does tackle the ‘high-earner‘ segment through an “unlimited” 5G data plan, however. Priced at €80 per month, it undercuts Telekom’s “unlimited” offer by €5. This is the only smartphone 5G tariff plan with which Telekom came to market, and will surely change as competition heats up.

Huawei in the game

Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G and Huawei Technologies’ Mate 20 X 5G are the first two smartphones in VfD’s portfolio. Another option from the OpCo is Gigacube 5G. A wireless router supplied by Huawei — and pitched as a wireline home broadband substitution product — Gigacube 5G has an embedded SIM card. Prices start at €24.99 per month, which carries a data cap of 30GB. For €49.99 per month, VfD allows a much more generous 250GB data allowance.

More 5G tariff developments look on the way following the European Commission’s decision to approve Vodafone’s acquisition of Liberty Global’s Unitymedia operation in Germany, plus its cable businesses in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania (see separate report). From 1 September 2019, VfD intends to launch bundled tariffs comprising 5G and access to Unitymedia cable assets.

Read likes speed tiering

While Vodafone’s 4G pricing strategy revolved around data allowance tiering, there has been a clear shift with early 5G releases (albeit not so pronounced in VfD’s case). The capacity and efficiency gains offered by 5G look to have put paid to data caps as a means to differentiate and drive upselling, while making “unlimited” plans (finally) make sense to the Group’s conservative leadership. Throughput is now the main selling point, instead.

Nick Read, Chief Executive of Vodafone, conceded that “unlimited” data will not be right for every market, but gave the distinct impression that this was his favoured 5G approach when combined with speed tiering. “We strongly believe that a speed-tiered approach is important because it preserves a valuable ladder for ARPU [average-revenue-per-user] accretion in the future”, said Read on Vodafone’s results conference call for the quarter to 30 June 2019.

To illustrate the point, Read flagged developments in Spain. By wooing 500,000 existing SIM cards onto unlimited 5G data offers since its launch in June 2019 (Vodafonewatch, #177), Read said it had seen a €3 ARPU accretion in the country. “We would expect all value players to go unlimited on the quality of network that they can support”, he said.

One downside to speed tiering is the danger of limiting the 5G experience, if done too aggressively. The slowest and cheapest 5G speed that Vodafone UK (VfUK) offers is 2Mbps — hardly an advert for 5G’s apparent Brave New World.

For the rest of this story, including insight into VfD’s coverage obligations, subscribe to access the full August release of Vodafonewatch.

Image: Ralf Steinberger / Flickr CC BY 2.0

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