Tue, Sep. 1, 12:01 PM
- Ahead of the vaunted launch of Netflix (NFLX -6.3%) service in Spain next month, Vodafone Spain (VOD -1.7%) has signed a deal to become the first pay TV provider to offer Netflix in the country.
- Vodafone says it can deliver Netflix's app to subscribers without a set-top box update. Perhaps more important for subscribers, they'll have an integrated search engine for programming on Vodafone's service, and Netflix offerings will be part of the recommendations section.
- Netflix has been stacking up deals with (smaller) pay TV providers, including Cogeco's Atlantic Broadband earlier this summer, Cable One, Mediacom, Suddenlink and Grande Communications.
- Previously: Netflix sets October for delayed launch in Spain (Jun. 03 2015)
- Previously: Netflix eyes tough market in Spain (Mar. 08 2015)
Fri, Aug. 28, 10:07 AM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) has confirmed its plan to launch 4G service in India by year's end, joining a hot space after Bharti Airtel and Reliance Industries pressed their own 4G rollouts.
- Vodafone has successfully begun tests, it says, and that Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Kochi -- "important data markets" -- would be part of the first wave.
- With Airtel as the first mover, launching 4G service in about 300 cities and towns, and Reliance Jio to launch in December with a 1T-rupee investment ($16B), analysts warned of a round of price wars.
- JPMorgan noted that along with the effect of price cuts, Reliance's re-entry of the market is affecting capex at rivals.
Wed, Aug. 26, 3:36 PM
- Turkey's once-postponed auction of 4G airwaves did better than expected, drawing €3.96B (about $4.5B) in bids from Turkey's three operators: Vodafone (VOD +2.5%), Turkcell (TKC +4.6%) and Avea (OTC:TRKNY).
- The original tender had been postponed in May as president Recep Tayyip Erdogan pressed for a cancellation, and for the country to skip a generation and try to upgrade infrastructure to 5G. But that technology isn't fully defined yet, and any commercial rollouts aren't likely before 2020.
- The auction performed well in a market that features a young, data-hungry population, says analyst Jonathan Friedman: "Beyond recent political instability, Turkey is a large market with nearly 80 million consumers, and investors want to be a part of that."
- The bids received today are subject to a final approval process before frequencies are allocated.
Fri, Aug. 21, 12:54 PM
- Vodafone (VOD -2.8%) has pulled out of a six-company competition to take over Lebanon's two mobile operators.
- The government's two mobile firms, Touch and Alfa, were being run by Zain and Orascom Telecom Media and Technology, though the two companies' management contracts expired two years ago.
- Vodafone's pulling out leaves five others competing: Zain, Orange (ORAN -0.2%), Maxis, Turkcell (TKC -1.9%) and a unit of Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY), as OTMT didn't submit a bid application on time.
Mon, Aug. 17, 2:04 PM
- Amid discussion and plenty of speculation about how or when Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) and Liberty Global (LBTYA +1.2%) are going to get together, some analysts are looking to the coming month for clarity.
- The timetable might move based on Vodafone's actions for emerging-market assets, and how they are split from European assets.
- While the two companies confirmed discussions earlier this summer, they squelched talk of an outright purchase/merger, saying instead that they were talking about swapping assets.
- Nomura's James Britton sees an update coming soon on the negotiations. "The upside for both entities is clear to see and we remain confident that an offer for Vodafone Europe, which leaves Vodafone shareholders with a considerable interest in the premier convergence provider (Liberty) in Europe, will be an enticing prospect for Vodafone's board," he writes. Nomura has been on record saying an outright merger would look more attractive than an asset swap.
- Though Vodafone has stated the companies are not considering a merger, we do not believe this is necessarily a permanent state of affairs," Citigroup's Simon Weeden wrote last month, saying the "cleanest and lowest risk" path to synergy was via "a full acquisition of Liberty by Vodafone.
- Previously: Liberty Global, Vodafone see better rules environment for swaps (Jun. 12 2015)
- Previously: Liberty Global CEO: Need mobile services to complete quad-play (Jun. 09 2015)
Fri, Aug. 14, 11:58 AM
- Qualcomm (QCOM +0.1%) has sold its L-Band (1452MHz.-1492MHz.) U.K. spectrum to Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) and Three's U.K. subsidiaries. The Times reports total proceeds are expected to be above £100M ($156M).
- Qualcomm announced in June it would sell the spectrum, following an EU decision allowing the L-Band to be used for mobile downlink capacity. The company paid just £8.3M ($12.9M) in 2008 to buy the spectrum.
Wed, Aug. 12, 6:09 PM
- Vodafone India's (NASDAQ:VOD) chief information officer is leaving the company, to take on a broader role at another firm, he said.
- Anthony Thomas has led the Mumbai-based IT team since April 2012, after holding senior positions at companies including Citigroup and Ernst & Young. His tenure included the company's rollout of the M-pesa mobile money transfer system.
- He says his last day will be Sept. 15.
Tue, Aug. 4, 7:41 PM
- Telecom Italia (TI -1.3%) is looking to avoid up to €4B (about $4.4B) in antitrust charges via a reorganization of the unit that leases its wireline network to competitors -- including Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD), which is seeking more than €1B in damages, Bloomberg reports.
- The plan would be modeled after what BT Group has done in the UK with Openreach: folding its OpenAccess unit into its wholesale business.
- The board is reportedly set to review the plan at a meeting on Thursday. TI has reportedly made provisions, including one-time items of €309M in Q2, to address antitrust concerns.
- Telecom competitor Fastweb SpA --owned by Swisscom (OTCPK:SCMWY) -- is also pursuing remedies against TI, to the tune of €1.7B.
- The proposal would have TI buying wholesale capacity from OpenAccess just as its rivals do, and the wholesale group would have total oversight over OpenAccess.
Fri, Jul. 24, 9:20 PM
- Following Vodafone's (VOD +2%) Q1 results, in its earnings call today (transcript), CEO Vittorio Colao elaborated on the company's discomfort with the power of a consolidated BT Group/EE combo in the UK as regulatory questions piled up.
- Vodafone and industry peers have called for a breakup of BT Group -- UK regulator Ofcom is considering a split of Openreach -- and Colao said the right rules could prompt investment.
- "So I think the regulators should have a serious look at the possibility of creating a true modern infrastructure company to serve the country. And Openreach could be that one. And, ideally, Vodafone could even be an investor in fiber like we are in other places, if it was a genuine thing."
- Colao also complained about broadcasters like Sky paying heavy fees to get exclusive programming rights that are enforced with some close-together geographic borders in Europe, a subject that touches on the EU's antitrust action against major Hollywood studios.
- "Minimum guarantees are my enemy and we need to convince regulators they are anticompetitive," Colao said. "But I think the behavior of content owners will be under a lot of scrutiny in coming years."
- Previously: BT CEO threatens decade of litigation if forced to divest wholesale unit (Jul. 20 2015)
Fri, Jul. 24, 9:27 AM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is up 2.7% premarket after a quarterly report where growth sped up slightly on revenues held down by currency changes.
- Revenues were down 0.9%, but increased 3.3% excluding forex and M&A. Organic service revenues (excluding M&A, forex and handset sales) was up 0.8%, boosted by 6.1% gains in its Africa/Middle East/Asia Pacific geo. India provided a regional boost with 6.9% gains.
- European organic service revenue fell 1.5% but comparative recovery was apparent across markets: Germany -1.2%; Italy -2%; Spain -5.5%; UK +0.2%.
- The company reported 24.1M 4G customers across 18 markets.
- CEO Vittorio Colao called it "a good start to the year. Our emerging markets have maintained their strong momentum and more of our European businesses are returning to growth, as customer demand for 4G and data takes off."
Tue, Jul. 21, 9:07 AM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is down 1.1% premarket in U.S. trading following news of a shakeup of its European management even as it talks with Liberty Global about swapping assets on the continent.
- European chief Philipp Humm will step down and leave Vodafone, and the chiefs of Vodafone's most crucial markets -- Germany, Italy, the UK and Spain -- will report directly to CEO Vittorio Colao as part of a group executive committee.
- Colao says this will "simplify and streamline the management of our largest European markets and accelerate our strategic plans in those countries" as convergence quickens and the company proceeds with organic investment.
- Meanwhile, Grupo Santander reiterated its Underweight rating on Vodafone. Santander has a price target on London shares of 215 pence; shares are down 0.9% in London, to 236.9 pence.
- Nomura has reiterated its Buy rating today.
- Previously: Vodafone up as firms counter Goldman, reiterate Buy ratings (Jul. 16 2015)
- Previously: Vodafone, Liberty merger "far more attractive" than asset swap: Nomura (Jun. 23 2015)
Mon, Jul. 20, 2:20 PM
- Gavin Patterson, CEO of BT Group (NYSE:BT), used an interview to threaten the prospect of a decade of lawsuits and a standstill to broadband investment if the UK's telecom regulator forces it to sell its Openreach wholesale unit.
- "This is a commercial enterprise and if there’s uncertainty we will defend the rights of our shareholders, undoubtedly," he said to The Telegraph. "At the end of it, and if we’re meant to be looking at the next 10 years, what do you want to look back on? Do you want to look back at 10 years of litigation and arguments?”
- Ofcom, the UK watchdog, had floated the idea last week that BT could be forced to spin off the wholesale business to boost competition, amid rivals like TalkTalk, Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) and (especially) Sky arguing for a breakup or restrictions on BT even as it pursues acquiring EE, Britain's largest wireless provider.
- Patterson calls those stances "quite staggering hypocrisy" from providers who pushed for lower prices rather than investing in last-mile networks.
- While a total to halt to broadband investment is part of BT's threat, the company says it's going forward with deploying G.fast technology for now.
- Previously: BT could be broken up under U.K. market shake-up (Jul. 16 2015)
- Previously: Vodafone returns to UK broadband with new offering (Jun. 10 2015)
- Previously: UK regulator fast-tracking review of BT Group/EE merger (Jun. 09 2015)
Thu, Jul. 16, 10:55 AM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is up 0.9% in U.S. trading as it has its Overweight/Outperform rating reiterated by both JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse today.
- Credit Suisse has a price target on London shares of 250 pence.
- Nomura has reiterated its Buy rating as well, with a 290 pence price target. Shares are currently +1.1% to 238.3 pence in London.
- In its action yesterday, Goldman Sachs had downgraded to Neutral with a price target on ADRs of $39, down from $41, and a London price target of 250 pence, down from 275p. The firm removed Vodafone from its Pan-Europe Buy list. ADRs closed at $36.99 yesterday.
- Previously: Vodafone -1.1%; pulled off Goldman's Pan-Europe Buy List (Jul. 15 2015)
Wed, Jul. 15, 10:12 AM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is 1.1% lower as Goldman Sachs removes it from its Pan-Europe Buy List, downgrading the stock to Neutral from Buy.
- The firm has a price target of 250 pence, down from 275 pence; shares are trading down 1% in London at 235.55 pence.
- Amid recent talk about an asset swap with Liberty Global (LBTYA +0.5%), Goldman's Tim Boddy sees the risk/reward profile as "more binary" with Vodafone still set to benefit from "'double' consolidation of both mobile and fixed-mobile operators ... We see attractive operational gearing to this growth recovery given its low margins."
- M&A is still a very valid option and if management reconsiders its structure, "we believe a number of other potential acquirers could take interest in its remaining assets," he says.
Thu, Jul. 9, 12:05 PM
- Vodafone (VOD +1%) has signed a deal with Mediaset to offer its pay-TV content to Vodafone Italy customers.
- The content will carry through Vodafone's 4G network, covering 88% of Italy's population. Similarly, competitor Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI) offers its customers full content of Sky Italia (OTCQX:SKYAY).
- An initial flagship bundle combining voice and data with TV series, sports and movies is available to Vodafone subscribers at €39/month (about $43), with lower-priced packages available.
Wed, Jul. 8, 11:58 PM
- Europe is leading the world in telecoms moving to "quad-play" bundling -- adding wireless to fixed-line telephones, broadband and pay TV -- which should mean a big opportunity for firms to drive margin improvement and build some competitive moats, says Morningstar's Allan Nichols.
- Both in-country consolidations and convergence mergers are helping build moats, he says -- the latter because it tends to lower churn as people subscribe to more services. And with lower churn, companies can lower subscriber acquisition cost.
- His favorites in the space: Telefonica (NYSE:TEF), already a leader in triple-play and convergence in Spain and Brazil; Orange (NYSE:ORAN), leading a fiber buildout in France; and Millicom International Cellular (OTCPK:MIICF), with a high organic growth rate but low EV/EBITDA.
- About 16% of Virgin Media customers were taking four services when it was acquired by Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) in summer 2013, which Nichols thinks was a key factor. Liberty is now offering wireless services as an MVNO in several markets, and has agreed to buy Royal KPN's (OTCPK:KKPNY) wireless business Base.
- From the wireless direction, Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is also acquiring assets to offer other services, particularly after it bought Cable & Wireless Worldwide in the UK, and later Kabel Deutschland in Germany.
- Europe would benefit from more cross-border mergers, Nichols says, but they're unlikely due to political constraints, and German cable consolidation is likely to run into regulatory opposition as well.
VOD vs. ETF Alternatives
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.
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