Vodafone Group PlcNASDAQ
Wed, Oct. 19, 2:18 PM
- Vodafone Portugal (VOD -1%) is counting on a positive outcome with the European Commission, which it expects will force an opening of Altice's (OTCPK:ATCEY) fiber network to rival firms.
- The EC had opened an early probe into decisions by Portugal's telecom regulator not to force Altice-owned MEO (the market-leading pay TV and broadband provider) to allow others onto the fiber net.
- With a ruling due by the end of the month, Vodafone Portugal chief Mario Vaz says arguments are lining up that suggest open access is coming: "We expect a positive result for Portugal."
- Such a move would build incentives for co-investment and greater competition in currently noncompetitive parts of the country, he said.
Tue, Oct. 18, 1:58 PM
- Vodafone (VOD +1.6%) is the latest Western phone company to make a move into Iran as sanctions ease up, forming a partnership with local Internet service provider HiWeb.
- In the non-equity deal, Vodafone will help HiWeb expand and modernize its network, while HiWeb will offer mobile/landline service in Iran to Vodafone's multinational customers. The scope of the pact includes marketing, distribution and even "Internet of Things" services.
- The move by Vodafone follows similar steps by Orange (NYSE:ORAN), which says it's talking cooperation deals with Iran's Mobile Telecommunication Co.
Tue, Oct. 11, 5:35 PM
Thu, Oct. 6, 4:51 PM
- Vodafone (VOD -1.9%) spent the most in an Indian wireless spectrum auction that totaled $9.9B in bids (about 658B rupees) -- well below an $84B on offer.
- With more than $3B in bids, Vodafone and Bharti Airtel ($2.13B in bids), Reliance Jio ($2.05B) and Idea ($1.92B) all passed up higher-priced 700 MHz frequencies, preferring the 1,800 and 2,300 MHz bands, and took less than half of the airwaves being sold.
- It's still early days for data demand in India, though, and the auction came in line with expectations that JPMorgan has ($8B-$12B total).
- Though India's big three are all bigger than upstart Jio, Vodafone, Bharti and Idea are behind Jio in 4G presence and worked to build up high-speed spectrum with aggressive bidding.
Fri, Sep. 23, 10:39 AM
- Vodafone (VOD -1.7%) is pouring billions into its Indian operations as it prepares for a bruising competition with Reliance Jio -- the upstart mobile operator arm of India's richest man that has shaken the market with an aggressive price entry.
- Jio has announced commercial wireless service coming at the end of the year as a 100% 4G player in an unusually competitive market: It's the 12th competitor in India, vs. markets that generally have three or four. It also has the country's largest hoard of spectrum, along with a complete vertically integrated setup.
- Vodafone -- No. 2 in the market, behind Bharti Airtel -- has moved around $7.2B from Newbury to its India operations, preparing for a fight on multiple fronts including a pricey spectrum auction.
- Vodafone India is also heavily indebted. That infusion, "which we believe is the largest ever in India, will enable Vodafone India to continue its investments in spectrum and expansion of networks across various technology layers delivering the best of experience to our hundreds of million customers,” says Vodafone India CEO Sunil Sood.
- Two other major operators (Reliance and Aircel) have elected to pool resources for the competition ahead.
Wed, Sep. 14, 12:37 PM
- Telecom Italia (TI -0.7%) is unconcerned with the Italian market entry of French low-cost wireless carrier Iliad (OTCPK:ILIAY), it says, and it's got defenses in mind to protect its share.
- "Iliad's entry into Italy does not worry us. Italy is a very different market to France," TI CEO Flavio Cattaneo said in Rome.
- Prices are already low in Italy, Cattaneo said, and anti-terrorism laws linking SIM card owners to identity cards makes an additional hurdle to getting new customers fast.
- Iliad, run by tycoon Xavier Niel, is set to become Italy's fourth wireless carrier after taking assets from Hutchison and VimpelCom (part of merging Three Italia and Wind Telecomunicazioni), and it's looking to use its approach to take 10%-15% of the market from TI and Vodafone (VOD -0.5%), Bloomberg reports. Iliad will focus on online sales rather than building out shop infrastructure.
- Iliad may be ready to start service in Italy early next summer, sources said, and is mulling a move into fixed-line service as well.
Thu, Sep. 1, 11:30 AM
- European telecom firms have some rough sledding ahead, BofA Merrill Lynch suggests, with new iPhones threatening increased subsidies even as half the companies will need a strong second half to hit targets.
- Tough comparisons and hotly competitive markets are dogging companies like Telefonica (TEF +0.1%) and SFR (OTCPK:NUMCF), which could face misses in the half. The firm is reiterating its Underperform stance on Telefonica.
- Royal KPN (OTCPK:KKPNY -1.8%) is likely in better shape after its July moves, including price hikes and a headcount reduction.
- In the medium term, there's more room for optimism especially as companies see free cash flow benefits from refinancing -- particularly Vodafone (VOD -1.5%) and Telefonica, though Orange (ORAN -0.5%) and Telecom Italia (TI -0.1%) can benefit as well.
Thu, Aug. 25, 10:48 AM
- VimpelCom (VIP +0.2%) and Hutchison (OTCPK:HUWHY) are set to get EU approval of a long-in-the-works Italy operation merger as soon as next week, Bloomberg reports.
- The two have pressed to combine their Wind Telecomunicazioni and Three Italia into Italy's largest wireless carrier via an $8.9B transaction, but have been pursuing that deal against the backdrop of a European Commission taking a hard line on competition. The EC blocked Hutchison's attempt to merge its Three UK with O2.
- But a revised plan from the two hopefuls included sales of spectrum, sites and services, and allowing France's Iliad (OTCPK:ILIAY) to enter the Italian market as a new competitor.
- Approval would affect the stock of current market leader Telecom Italia (TI +1.1%), which tumbled last month when VimpelCom and Hutchison submitted new merger plans, and of Vodafone (VOD -0.6%).
Wed, Aug. 24, 3:30 PM
- Idea Cellular is exploring a merger with Vodafone India (NASDAQ:VOD) to create India's biggest telecom, CNBC-TV18 reports.
- Idea, the third-largest telecom in India, has blasted the report as "baseless and absolutely false" and "preposterous." Vodafone India is the second-biggest provider; the two combined would outsize No. 1 Bharti Airtel.
- Sources told CNBC-TV18 that the two companies were engaged in discussing strategic options that could result in a full combination. That would preclude Vodafone India's moves toward an initial public offering.
- Such a deal would run into challenges, including clearance from the Competition Commission, considering that market share would rise about 50% in some areas.
Wed, Aug. 24, 10:47 AM
- Vodafone Australia (VOD +0.2%) will begin trials of 5G wireless technology by the end of the year, with an eye to a commercial launch in 2020.
- That timeline lines it up with competitor Telstra (OTCPK:TLSYY -0.8%), which is using an Ericsson test bed to begin trials in September with a similar focus on a 2020 launch.
- Vodafone didn't provide precise details, but the company will be working with key suppliers including Huawei and Ericsson, says CTO Kevin Millroy.
- Vodafone's schedule has it beginning trials after it finishes deploying the bulk of its 4G network.
Fri, Aug. 12, 2:19 PM
- As it prepares a merger with the Dutch unit of Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD), Ziggo Group (LBTYA -0.3%) has more than doubled its debt-raising plans, to $3.9B, Bloomberg reports.
- It now is said to be raising €2.6B (about $2.9B) in a leveraged euro-denominated loan and $1B in a dollar loan.
- That comes in an environment of higher appetite for risky assets, and an average loan price in Europe of 97.6 cents/euro.
- Last week, a usually reticent European Commission gave its approval to the merger of Ziggo and Vodafone Netherlands, conditioned on Vodafone selling its fixed-line business there.
Mon, Aug. 8, 1:17 PM
- Vodafone Spain (VOD -0.8%) and Huawei are teaming on what they say is the first commercial deployment of dual-band High Speed Downlink Packet Access (DB-HSDPA).
- Huawei says it's incorporated chipsets to support the standard since the second half of last year. It lets handsets receive two bands simultaneously.
- The two companies say it offers double the UMTS throughput compared to single-carrier solutions on Europe's main band.
Wed, Aug. 3, 10:20 AM
- The European Commission has approved a merger in the Netherlands of Liberty Global's (LBTYA +1.6%) cable firm Ziggo with Vodafone Netherlands (VOD +0.4%), on the condition that Vodafone sell its fixed business.
- Liberty Global has jumped from an open in the red to positive ground this morning.
- That makes a strong competitor to incumbent provider Royal KPN (OTCPK:KKPNY). Ziggo is the Netherlands' top cable provider, and Vodafone is the second-largest mobile operator.
- The two companies had reportedly offered concessions last month to get the deal done, and it appears the EC's main concern was Vodafone's quick expansion in the fixed-line market.
- In keeping with other such regulatory reviews, the EC denied a request from the Dutch competition regulator to probe the deal but said it consulted with the agency in its review.
Fri, Jul. 29, 4:22 PM
- Royal KPN (OTCPK:KKPNY) has lost a lawsuit against Fox (FOX -0.2%, FOXA -0.5%) tied to their carriage deal for Fox programming.
- The deal expires at the end of July, and the court decision means Fox isn't required to extend the deal under the same terms. KPN had claimed new terms from Fox, including a requirement to add a Fox premium sports channel to a basic TV package, might violate competition law.
- Fox had requested a minimum payment based on total viewers at KPN, and offered to allow KPN to include the Fox Sports channels in its basic plan at a lower cost, rather than only in a premium tier. KPN balked at a "significant increase" in cost.
- In the Netherlands, Vodafone (VOD +0.4%) has accepted the new Fox terms, while the country's market leader, Ziggo (LBTYA +1.7%), is unaffected since it won't see its current deal expire until 2020.
- Earlier, Reuters reported that Europe was near approval on a combination of Dutch operations between Liberty Global and Vodafone.
Fri, Jul. 29, 12:55 PM
- Europe is set to sign off on a high-profile merger of Dutch operations between Liberty Global (LBTYA +0.7%) and Vodafone (VOD +0.4%) following some concessions, Reuters reports.
- That news is coming despite a tough regulatory regime that has scratched potential country mergers elsewhere, including a deal in Denmark between TeliaSonera and Telenor.
- Liberty and Vodafone offered concessions July 12 to get the deal done, sources told Reuters.
- The two would form the second-biggest telecom in the Netherlands and present a better competitive face to incumbent Royal KPN (OTCPK:KKPNY).
Thu, Jul. 28, 3:23 PM
- Italian utility giant Enel (OTCPK:ENLAY) is going to push incumbent Telecom Italia (TI -0.3%) in a quest for a new high-speed network for the country, with an agreement to merge its fiber unit with Metroweb Italia.
- Telecom Italia had been pursuing its own deal for Metroweb in the spring. Italy's average landline Internet speeds are among the lowest in Europe.
- Metroweb was assigned an enterprise value of €814M (about $903M), and stakes in the combined company will be shared by Enel and state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, which controls Metroweb along with infrastructure fund F2i.
- Repurposing Enel's power cabinets to create fiber infrastructure will give TI competitors like Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) an easier way to provide access to customers who are demanding faster Internet.