European competition authorities and their political masters need to obsess less about maximising or preserving numbers of mobile network-based competitors, and, instead, help maximize--or at least not impede--infrastructure and services investments and other developments by letting market forces prevail. The United States shows us that allowing industry consolidation--with mergers and acquisitions among mobile network operators--increases economic efficiencies, improves financial returns and creates the incentive for further capital investments by large and small operators alike.
Vodafone Chairman Gerard Kleisterlee said his company's board would seriously consider a proposal from Verizon Communications to buy Vodafone's 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless if the deal gave Vodafone shareholders more value than they derive now from the partnership.
This week has again been a reminder of the difficult conditions that network vendors and operators are fighting against in Europe. Can operators find new ways of tying users to various services in order to make it harder for them to churn?
Vodafone continues to struggle with cutthroat price competition and a difficult economic environment in Europe, as lower revenue in Germany, the UK and Southern Europe caused first-quarter group service revenue to drop 3.5 per cent to £10.15 billion (€11.8 billion).
John Malone, the billionaire chairman of Liberty Global, removed all doubt that the cable group will make a counter bid for Kabel Deutschland, thereby conceding victory to Vodafone in the battle for ownership of the German cable group.
Vodafone is establishing two new regional hubs in Africa to improve customer support to multinational clients, as revenue from its enterprise customers on the continent exceeded €1 billion in the financial year to March 2013.
Mergers and acquisitions worth around €60 billion were announced in Europe's telecoms market in the first half of this year, almost double the volume in the same period last year.
Vodafone's latest MVNO deal with UK supermarket chain Sainsbury's means that three of the UK's largest supermarkets will in future offer mobile services based on an MVNO model. In the view of one analyst, more mobile network operators across Europe and elsewhere should be cashing in on wholesale services, where margins can be as much as 50 per cent.
Telefonica has crafted an agreement with two of its main competitors--Vodafone and Orange--to share vertical fiber network infrastructure in buildings they serve throughout Spain.
Two major telecoms acquisitions announced in Europe this past week will be closely watched by industry executives, in part to see how European Union regulators deal with them.