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Vodafone Group plc (VOD)

  • Thu, Apr. 9, 10:00 PM
    • In a new report on fiber, DSL and cable broadband subscribers, Infonetics Research projects that consumers are driving global fixed broadband adoption toward a 5% compound annual growth rate through 2019, from a current base of 733M (up 8% last year).
    • Global growth will lead the way, the firm says, especially in China (Asia Pacific has 50% of the world's fixed broadband subscribers, and China Telecom (NYSE:CHA) is the worldwide share leader) -- as well as Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Arrgentina, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.
    • Other insights: DSL's still the biggest technology, but growth is coming via fiber-to-the-home and DOCSIS 3.0 cable; and FTTH subscribers grew 22% last year to cross the 100M-subscriber line.
  • Mon, Mar. 30, 1:16 PM
    • Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is adding customer credit cards to its mobile wallet, via deals with service providers Visa (NYSE:V) and Carta Worldwide.
    • The agreements will allow Vodafone customers to add their credit card details on their mobile phone's SIM card and enable contactless payment (via near-field communications) using the cards.
    • Previously, customers had to use Vodafone's own prepaid account for such payments.
    • Vodafone's wallet is available in Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and Italy and the new card system will be available from Q2. The company declined to make many forecasts about a business with low penetration where key competitors like Apple are just beginning their own forays.
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  • Fri, Mar. 27, 7:34 PM
    • Companies made key bets on India's wireless phone industry this week -- and Idea Cellular made the biggest of all -- in a spectrum auction that drew $17.6B overall.
    • Idea -- India's No. 3 wireless carrier -- spent the most among carriers, with 300B rupees ($4.8B) in bids across three different bands (900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2.1 GHz).
    • Bharti Airtel (291B rupees, or $4.65B) and Vodafone (VOD; 259.6B rupees, or $4.15B) spent nearly as much. The three dominated the auction bidding due to license renewals they had to accomplish before a December expiration. Overall, bidders focused on 4G bandwidth in order to grow more high-speed services.
    • The size of the auction raised eyebrows, and Idea said it would take advantage of a government-offered deferred payment.
    • In a reflection of the recent U.S. wireless auction, Bharti Airtel complained about the auction format: "We hope that in future auctions, the government will make available adequate spectrum by securing it from agencies and operators who are underutilizing this vital resource," said the company's regional CEO Gopal Vittal.
    • Profitability is on the rise among Indian carriers, with 120M smartphone users in country and sliding handset prices expected to fuel further subscriber growth.
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  • Mon, Mar. 23, 7:06 PM
    • The long road to Hutchison Whampoa's (OTCPK:HUWHY) £10.5B ($15.7B) purchase of British wireless firm O2 (NYSE:TEF) is close to its end, and a deal could be announced Tuesday morning, the Financial Times reports.
    • A merger of O2 with Hutchison's Three will turn UK mobile into a three-party race, divided between the new entity, Vodafone and leader EE. It'll draw regulatory attention, but similar European deals have been approved in other countries.
    • Hutchison is likely to get outside financing help, selling about 30% of the group to investors, possibly from Qatar, Singapore or Canada.
    • Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) -- which raised competitive concerns about BT Group's acquisition of EE -- will also express concern about this tie-up, as it has a network-sharing agreement with O2.
    • Previously: BT wraps £12.5B deal to buy Britain's largest mobile firm (Feb. 04 2015)
    • Previously: FT: Telefonica set to sell O2 to Hutchison for $15B+ (updated) (Jan. 22 2015)
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  • Thu, Mar. 19, 4:21 PM
    • Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) has signed a letter of intent with investor F2i to buy a stake in Italian fiber network owner Metroweb Italia, Bloomberg reports. F2i currently owns 54% of Metroweb, whose metro and long-haul fiber services reach the northern cities of Milan, Genoa, and Bologna.
    • No financial details are mentioned in the LOI, but two sources state Vodafone might fund a capital increase of as much as €500M ($532M) in Metroweb unit Metroweb Sviluppo Srl.
    • The investment would further Vodafone's multi-year effort to offer (through a mixture of acquisitions, investments, and partnerships) mobile/wireline service bundles throughout the EU. It would also bolster an Italian unit that has seen sales fall sharply amid tough price competition and the cannibalization of voice/SMS services by Web-based offerings.
    • Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI) reportedly held talks to buy a stake in Metroweb earlier this year, only to see them break down over disagreements about Metroweb's ownership structure. Bloomberg's report comes as Hutchison goes after fellow Italian carrier Wind (owned by VimpelCom).
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  • Fri, Mar. 13, 5:29 PM
    • Hutchison Whampoa's (OTCPK:HUWHY) been doing its level best to consolidate European telecoms -- by itself if need be -- but very lengthy talks over acquiring VimpelCom's (NASDAQ:VIP) Italian unit Wind Telecomunicazioni are key to cementing its foothold in the continent.
    • Hutchison's 3 Italia is the smallest player of Italy's four, with Wind being the third-largest. If the two (finally) merge, they'd have about a third of the market, roughly equal to that of leader Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI) and Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD).
    • Hong Kong-based Hutchison is pushing a $15B takeover of British firm O2 from Telefonica, and has already acquired Orange Austria and O2 Ireland.
    • Talks between Hutchison and Wind have been going on for over a year, but in the meantime, Wind's lost customers and gained debt (its net debt is now nearly 5x 2014 EBITDA).
    • Previously: FT: VimpelCom, Hutchison again close to closure on Italy merger (Mar. 10 2015)
    • Previously: VimpelCom, Hutchison reportedly closer to merging Italy operations (Feb. 17 2015)
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  • Tue, Mar. 10, 9:10 PM
    • It's a headline you've heard a few times before, but VimpelCom (VIP +1.7%) and Hutchison Whampoa (OTCPK:HUWHY -1.2%) are in the advanced stages of merging their Italian units, the Financial Times reports.
    • For more than a year, the two firms have been discussing how to merge VimpelCom's Wind Telecomunicazioni and Hutchison's Three Italia, the third- and fourth-largest of four competitors in Italy. But a breakthrough may mean Hutchison might get a 51% share of the combination and finally bring it to closure.
    • Sound familiar? In a four-competitor market, the smallest two have launched a damaging price war that's pressured everyone in the market. If the two merge, they'd have about a third of the space, roughly equal to that of Telecom Italia (TI -3.4%) and of Vodafone (VOD -1.7%).
    • Previously: VimpelCom, Hutchison reportedly closer to merging Italy operations (Feb. 17 2015)
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  • Fri, Feb. 27, 6:21 PM
    • Dropbox and Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) have made a deal to bring Dropbox's file storage to the wireless carrier's customers -- a key market for Dropbox, who get 70% of its users and about half its revenue outside the U.S.
    • With more than 440M subscribers as of year-end, Vodafone can provide a boost to Dropbox, which currently sports more than 300M users. Eventually, the carrier's Android phones will come pre-installed with Dropbox. For its part, aside from any payment considerations, Vodafone can offer its users 25 free GB of storage.
    • Terms of the deal were undisclosed, though Dropbox's Marc Leibowitz says it's not just a "pay for play."
    • The rollout is scheduled to happen for most Vodafone customers by the end of 2015.
    • Vodafone Q4 earnings
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  • Tue, Feb. 24, 8:02 PM
    • U.K. mobile firms are likely looking at a license fee increase as regulator Ofcom follows its government mandate to ensure spectrum fees reflect market value.
    • EE (ORAN, OTCQX:DTEGY) -- on its way to becoming part of BT Group (NYSE:BT) -- Three (OTCPK:HUWHY), O2 (NYSE:TEF) and Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) could see fees for the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands rising to a total £223.3M/year ($345.5M/year) -- up from the combined £64.4M/year they pay now.
    • Considering proportional increases, EE might see its current £24.9M/year rise to £75.6M.
    • Related mobile stocks were up today, with the exception of Vodafone, which saw a downgrade from Bank of America: ORAN +1.7%; OTCQX:DTEGY +1.9%; TEF +1.4%; OTCPK:HUWHY +0.3%; VOD -3.3%.
    • Previously: Vodafone lower after BofA downgrade (Feb. 24 2015)
    | 1 Comment
  • Tue, Feb. 24, 3:00 PM
    • Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) ADRs are trading 3.4% lower in the wake of a downgrade by Bank of America, to Underperform from Neutral.
    • That's despite a reiteration today by JPMorgan Chase of its Overweight rating, and its price target on London shares of £265/share. (Vodafone closed in London today at £226.52, -2.7%.)
    • ADR shares are trading at $34.76 and are down 15.6% over the past year.
  • Fri, Feb. 20, 9:23 AM
    • Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY) -- in a tussle over German customers with Unitymedia KabelBW (NASDAQ:LBTYA) and Kabel Deutschland (NASDAQ:VOD) -- is planning to offer fast Internet to another 5.9M homes.
    • The move to expand its VDSL network there means raising the bar on Deutsche Telekom's 2018 plans -- to have 80% of homes connected to fast Internet, up from 65%.
    • Kabel Deutschland owner Vodafone has been focusing on broadband as it plays catch-up on bundling, and it's a frequent subject of chatter as a Liberty Global buyout partner.
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  • Wed, Feb. 18, 11:14 AM
    • In more details from 13Fs: John Paulson's Paulson & Co. closed its entire stake in Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) by Dec. 31.
    • Paulson had a stake of 26.7M shares ($927.6M at today's price), which made up 3.65% of the fund's portfolio.
    • The fund did add nearly 320K shares to its T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) stake.
    • Paulson also added to stakes in Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), boosting that stake by 18%, and DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV), adding 9% to that stake.
    • VOD shares are down 2.1% today, and are now up just 1.6% YTD.
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  • Thu, Feb. 12, 3:01 PM
    • Top British wireless firm EE -- which has agreed to a $19B takeover by BT Group (NYSE:BT) -- is committing to a £1.5B (about $2.3B) investment in its 4G network, with particular emphasis resting on rural UK upgrades -- which never hurt when it comes to regulatory approvals.
    • The company expects its 4G footprint to surpass its 2G footprint by 2017 and reach 99% of the populace. The rural investments are targeting voice/data enhancements for 90% of UK geography.
    • Competitor Vodafone (VOD +1.8%) was already under pressure, behind on an entry to UK's broadband market, but its network was freshly rated inferior to EE's, increasing the heat for continued investment.
    • RootMetrics called Vodafone's and O2's speeds "much slower" outside metro areas.
    • Previously: EE tops network mobile tests in UK; Three close behind (Feb. 11 2015)
    • Previously: BT Group up 6.2% as it seals $19B EE purchase (Feb. 05 2015)
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  • Wed, Feb. 11, 3:36 PM
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  • Thu, Feb. 5, 9:54 AM
    • BT Group (NYSE:BT) running fast at +6.2% today in the wake of news of its agreement to buy EE for £12.5 billion ($18.98 billion) in cash and stock.
    • The combo of the country's biggest fixed-line telecom and biggest mobile operator allows for bundle sales of communications services, and gets BT more than 30M customers (24.5M direct mobile, 834K broadband) not to mention a phalanx of 580 retail stores.
    • The UK has been slow to offer customers "quad" bundles of fixed telephony, mobile, broadband and TV -- but it's getting there.
    • BT expects the deal will pass regulatory muster and go through by the end of its fiscal 2016.
    • Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD), playing catch-up in the UK broadband market, will still press for heavier regulation of a BT-EE combination that will have significant market share. “The important thing is that the regulator has an eye [on] how the new, large BT continues to grant access to their network,” said Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao.
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  • Thu, Feb. 5, 4:22 AM
    • A steady recovery in Europe helped Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) stem the rate of sales decline in its third quarter, as revenue rose 13.5% to £10.88B, beating market forecasts of £10.4B.
    • Group service revenue, a key metric based on telecom-services sales, fell 0.4% excluding acquisitions and disposals, and on a constant currency basis. That compares with a 4.8% decline in the same period last year.
    • Vodafone also reiterated its fiscal-year guidance of adjusted operating profit of £11.6B-£11.9B.
    • VOD +1.2% premarket
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Company Description
Vodafone Group PLC is engaged in providing voice and data communications services for all types of customers. The Company has presence in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Asia Pacific region and the United States.