Vodafone Group plc /ˈvoʊdəfoʊn/ is a British multinational telecommunications conglomerate, with headquarters in London and Newbury, Berkshire. It predominantly operates services in the regions of Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. Among mobile operator groups globally, Vodafone ranked 4th (behind China Mobile, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea) in the number of mobile customers (313 million) as of 2018.
Vodafone owns and operates networks in 25 countries, and has partner networks in 47 further countries. Its Vodafone Global Enterprise division provides telecommunications and IT services to corporate clients in 150 countries.
Vodafone has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It had a market capitalisation of approximately £52.5 billion as of 10 February 2016, the eighth-largest of any company listed on the London Stock Exchange. The company has a secondary listing on NASDAQ.
|Vodafone Group plc|
|Public limited company|
|Traded as||LSE: VOD|
FTSE 100 Component
|Predecessor||Racal Telecom (1982 to 1991)|
|Founded||16 September 1991|
|Headquarters||London (head office)|
Newbury, Berkshire, England (registered office)
|Gerard Kleisterlee (Chairman)|
Nick Read (CEO)
|Revenue||€46.571 billion (2018)|
|€4.299 billion (2018)|
|€2.788 billion (2018)|
|Total assets||€145.611 billion (2018)|
|Total equity||€68.607 billion (2018)|
Number of employees
|Divisions||Vodafone Global Enterprise|
The evolution of Vodafone started in 1982 with the establishment of the Racal Strategic Radio Ltd subsidiary of Racal Electronics, the UK's largest maker of military radio technology, which formed a joint venture with Millicom called 'Racal', which evolved into the present day Vodafone.
In 1980, Ernest Harrison, the then chairman of Racal Electronics, agreed to a deal with Lord Weinstock of the General Electric Company to allow Racal to access some of GEC's tactical battlefield radio technology. The head of Racal's military radio division, Gerry Whent, was briefed by Ernest Harrison to drive the company into commercial mobile radio. Whent visited a mobile radio factory run by General Electric (unrelated to GEC) in Virginia, USA the same year to understand the commercial use of military radio technology.
Jan Stenbeck, head of a growing Swedish conglomerate, set up an American company, Millicom, Inc. and approached Racal's Whent in July 1982 about bidding jointly for the UK's second cellular radio licence. The two struck a deal giving Racal 60% of the new company, Racal-Millicom, Ltd, and Millicom 40%. Due to UK concerns about foreign ownership, the terms were revised, and in December 1982, the Racal-Millicom partnership was awarded the second UK mobile phone network license. Final ownership of Racal-Millicom, Ltd was 80% Racal, with Millicom holding 15% plus royalties and venture firm Hambros Technology Trust holding 5%. According to the UK Secretary of State for Industry, "the bid submitted by Racal-Millicom Ltd… provided the best prospect for early national coverage by cellular radio."
Vodafone was launched on 1 January 1985 under the new name, Racal-Vodafone (Holdings) Ltd, with its first office based in the Courtyard in Newbury, Berkshire, and shortly thereafter Racal Strategic Radio was renamed Racal Telecommunications Group Limited. On 29 December 1986, Racal Electronics issued shares to the minority shareholders of Vodafone worth GB£110 million, and Vodafone became a fully owned brand of Racal.
On 26 October 1988, Racal Telecom, majority held by Racal Electronics, went public on the London Stock Exchange with 20% of its stock floated. The successful flotation led to a situation where Racal's stake in Racal Telecom was valued more than the whole of Racal Electronics. Under stock market pressure to realise full value for shareholders, Racal demerged Racal Telecom in 1991.
On 16 September 1991, Racal Telecom was demerged from Racal Electronics as Vodafone Group, with Gerry Whent as its CEO.
In July 1996, Vodafone acquired the two-thirds of Talkland it did not already own for £30.6 million. On 19 November 1996, in a defensive move, Vodafone purchased Peoples Phone for £77 million, a 181 store chain whose customers were overwhelmingly using Vodafone's network. In a similar move the company acquired the 80% of Astec Communications that it did not own, a service provider with 21 stores.
In January 1997, Gerald Whent retired and Christopher Gent took over as the CEO. The same year, Vodafone introduced its Speechmark logo, composed of a quotation mark in a circle, with the O's in the Vodafone logotype representing opening and closing quotation marks and suggesting conversation.
On 29 June 1999, Vodafone completed its purchase of AirTouch Communications, Inc. and changed its name to Vodafone Airtouch plc. The merged company commenced trading on 30 June 1999. The acquisition gave Vodafone a 35% share of Mannesmann, owner of the largest German mobile network. To gain anti-trust approval for the merger, Vodafone sold its 17.2% stake in Mannesmann's German competitor, E-Plus Mobilfunk.
On 21 September 1999, Vodafone agreed to merge its US wireless assets with those of Bell Atlantic Corp to form Verizon Wireless. The merger was completed on 4 April 2000, just a few months prior to Bell Atlantic's merger with GTE to form Verizon Communications, Inc.
In November 1999, Vodafone made an unsolicited bid for Mannesmann, which was rejected. Vodafone's interest in Mannesmann had been increased by the latter purchase of Orange, the UK mobile operator. Chris Gent would later say Mannesmann's move into the UK broke a "gentleman's agreement" not to compete in each other's home territory. The hostile takeover provoked strong protest in Germany, and a "titanic struggle" which saw Mannesmann resist Vodafone's efforts. However, on 3 February 2000, the Mannesmann board agreed to an increased offer of £112 billion, then the largest corporate merger ever. The EU approved the merger in April 2000 when Vodafone agreed to divest the 'Orange' brand, which was acquired in May 2000 by France Télécom.
On 28 July 2000, the Company reverted to its former name, Vodafone Group plc.
On 17 December 2001, Vodafone introduced the concept of "Partner Networks", by signing TDC Mobil of Denmark. The new concept involved the introduction of Vodafone international services to the local market, without the need of investment by Vodafone. The concept would be used to extend the Vodafone brand and services into markets where it does not have stakes in local operators. Vodafone services would be marketed under the dual-brand scheme, where the Vodafone brand is added at the end of the local brand. (i.e., TDC Mobil-Vodafone etc.)
In 2007, Vodafone entered into a title sponsorship deal with the McLaren Formula One team, which traded as "Vodafone McLaren Mercedes" until the sponsorship ended at the end of the 2013 season.
On 1 December 2011, it acquired the Reading based Bluefish Communications Ltd, an ICT consultancy company. The acquired operations formed the nucleus of a new Unified Communications and Collaboration practice within its subsidiary Vodafone Global Enterprise, which will focus on implementing strategies and solutions in cloud computing, and strengthen its professional services offering.
In April 2012, Vodafone announced an agreement to acquire Cable & Wireless Worldwide (CWW) for £1.04 billion. Vodafone was advised by UBS AG, while Barclays and Rothschild advised Cable & Wireless. The acquisition will give Vodafone access to CWW's fibre network for businesses, enabling it to take unified communications solutions to large enterprises in the UK and globally; and expand its enterprise service offerings in emerging markets. On 18 June 2012, Cable & Wireless' shareholders voted in favour of the Vodafone offer, exceeding the 75% of shares necessary for the deal to go ahead.
On 2 September 2013, Vodafone announced it would be selling its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications for $US130 billion, in one of the biggest deals in corporate history. With the proceeds from the deal, it announced a £19 billion Project Spring initiative to improve network quality in Europe and emerging markets like India.
In June 2017, the company took measures to prevent its advertising from appearing within outlets focused on creating and sharing hate speech and fake news.
|1Majority stakes held through majority-owned Vodacom Group |
2Effective ownership is not majority, but full control exercised by the group.
On 8 November 2006, the company announced a deal with Telecom Egypt, resulting in further co-operation in the Egyptian market and increasing its stake in Vodafone Egypt. After the deal, Vodafone Egypt was 55% owned by the group, while the remaining 45% was owned by Telecom Egypt.
On 18 September 2002, Vodafone signed a Partner Network Agreement with MTC group of Kuwait. The agreement involved the rebranding of MTC to MTC-Vodafone. On 29 December 2003, Vodafone signed another Partner Network Agreement with Kuwait's MTC group. The second agreement involved co-operation in Bahrain and the branding of the network as MTC-Vodafone.
On 3 November 2004, the Company announced that its South African affiliate Vodacom had agreed to introduce Vodafone's international services, such as Vodafone live! and partner agreements, to its local market.
In November 2005, Vodafone announced that it was in exclusive talks to buy a 15% stake of VenFin in Vodacom Group, reaching agreement the following day. Vodafone and Telkom then had a 50% stake each in Vodacom. Vodafone now owns 57.5% of Vodacom after purchasing a 15% stake from Telkom.
On 9 October 2008, the company offered to acquire an additional 15% stake in Vodacom Group from Telkom. The finalised details of the agreement were announced on 6 November 2008. The agreement called for Telkom to sell 15 per cent of its 50 per cent stake in Vodacom to the group, and demerge the other 35 per cent to its shareholder. Meanwhile, Vodafone has agreed to make Vodacom its exclusive sub-Saharan Africa investment vehicle, as well as continuing to maintain the visibility of the Vodacom brand. The transaction closed in May/June 2009.
In April 2011, Vodacom rebranded with the Vodafone logo.
In December 2007, a Vodafone Group-led consortium was awarded the second mobile phone licence in Qatar under the name "Vodafone Qatar". Vodafone Qatar is located at QSTP, the Qatar Science & Technology Park. Commercial operations officially began on 1 March 2009. In February 2018 Vodafone Europe agreed to sell their stake in the Qatar joint venture.
On 3 July 2008, Vodafone agreed to acquire a 70% stake in Ghana Telecom for $900 million. The acquisition was consummated on 17 August 2008. The same group-led consortium won the second fixed-line licence in Qatar on 15 September 2008.
On 28 January 2009, the group announced a partner network agreement with Du, the second-largest operator in the United Arab Emirates. The agreement involved co-operation on international clients, handset procurement, mobile broadband etc.
On 24 February 2010, the group signed a partner network agreement with the second-largest operator in Libya, al Madar.
On 23 September 2016, Vodafone extended its activities to Cameroon by signing a partnership with Afrimax, a 4G-LTE telecommunications operator in Africa. Vodafone Cameroon Launched a "Youth Program" in the Universities to support and encourage the Cameroonian students.
On 11 May 2008, Vodafone sealed a trade agreement with the Chilean Entel PCS Chile, in which Entel PCS has access to the equipment and international services of Vodafone, and Vodafone will be one of the trademarks of Entel for the wireless business. This step will give the Vodafone brand access to a market of over 15 million people, currently divided among two companies: Telefonica Movistar, and Entel PCS.
In August 2013, Vodafone has started the MVNO operation in Brazil, as a corporative M2M operator.
In the United States, Vodafone previously owned 45% of Verizon Wireless in a joint venture with Verizon Communications, the country's largest mobile carrier. Vodafone branding was not used, however, as the CDMA network was not compatible with the GSM 900/1800 MHz standard used by Vodafone's other networks and as Vodafone did not have management control over Verizon Wireless. On 2 September 2013 Vodafone announced the sale of its stake to Verizon Communications for around $130 billion.
In 2004, Vodafone made an unsuccessful bid for the entirety of AT&T Wireless, however, (Cingular Wireless) at the time a joint venture of SBC Communications and BellSouth (both now part of AT&T Inc.), ultimately outbid Vodafone and took control of AT&T Wireless (the combined wireless carrier is now AT&T Mobility).
|Papua New Guinea||Samoa|
In July 1993, BellSouth New Zealand's network went live. In November 1998, Vodafone purchased BellSouth New Zealand, which later became Vodafone New Zealand. In August 2005, Vodafone launched 3G technology in New Zealand. On 9 October 2006, Vodafone New Zealand bought New Zealand's 3rd largest internet service provider, iHug. In October 2013, Vodafone began its rollout of 4G to provincial New Zealand, with the launch of the system in holiday hotspots around Coromandel.
In October 1993 Vodafone Australia's network went live. In December 2004, Vodafone Australia agreed to deploy high-speed MPLS backbone network built by Lucent Worldwide Services using Juniper hardware. In October 2005, it began launching 3G technology in Australia. On 5 September 2008, Vodafone purchased Australia's largest bricks and mortar mobile phone retailer Crazy John's adding 115 retail stores to its local operations.
On 9 February 2009, Vodafone Australia announced a merger with 3/Hutchison via a joint venture company VHA Pty Ltd, which would offer products under the Vodafone brand. On 19 June 2009, Vodafone-Hutchison Australia (VHA) announced the end of its outsourcing of retail operations. VHA committed to buying back and managing its entire retail operation, including 208 Vodafone-branded retail outlets Australia-wide. This project was slated to be completed by 1 September 2009.
On 31 August 2009, VHA enabled an extended 900 MHz 3G UMTS network which functions outside their 2,100 MHz 3G network, boosting Vodafone's 3G population coverage from around 8% to around 94% on dual-band 900/2,100 MHz 3G UMTS devices.
In July 1994 Vodafone Fiji's network went live. In July 2014, Vodafone sold its 49% shareholding of Vodafone Fiji to The Fiji National Provident fund. Under the terms of the deal, Vodafone Fiji retained its branding under a Partner Market Agreement.
In 1999, J-Phone launched the J-sky mobile Internet service in response to DoCoMo's i-Mode service. It the became Japan's third-largest mobile operator and had introduced camera phones first in Japan. Vodafone then went on to acquire In December 2002 J-Phone's 3G network went live. On 1 October 2003, J-Phone became 'Vodafone Japan', and J-Phone's mobile internet service J-Sky became Vodafone Live!. In March 2006, Vodafone sold Vodafone Japan to SoftBank. In October 2006, SoftBank changed Vodafone Japan's name to 'SoftBank Mobile'. On 17 March 2006, Vodafone announced an agreement to sell all its interest in Vodafone Japan to SoftBank for £8.9 billion, of which £6.8 billion will be received in cash on closing of deal. Vodafone Japan later changed its name to SoftBank Mobile. In November 2010, Vodafone divested its remaining Softbank shares.
On 28 October 2005, the Company announced the acquisition of a 10 per cent stake in India's Bharti Enterprises, which operates the largest mobile phone network in India under the brand name Airtel. Then on 11 February 2007, the Company agreed to acquire a controlling interest of 67% in Hutch Essar for US$11.1 billion. At the same time, it agreed to sell back 5.6% of its Airtel stake back to the Mittals. Vodafone would retain a 4.4% stake in Airtel. On 21 September 2007, Hutch was rebranded to Vodafone in India. In May 2011, Vodafone Group Plc bought the remaining shares of Vodafone Essar from Essar Group Ltd for $5 billion. In October 2013, it was reported by Reuters that Vodafone planned to invest as much as $2 billion (£1.2 billion) to buy out minority shareholders in Vodafone India.
By late January 2017, Vodafone Group's unit in India and Idea Cellular Ltd were in preliminary talks to merge. And on 20 March 2017, Vodafone announced that it was merging its Indian business with Idea, India's third-largest network, to create the country's largest operator with almost 400 million customers, accounting for 35% of the Indian cellphone service market. Vodafone would own 45.1 percent of the new operator and Idea's parent company, the Aditya Birla Group, would own 26 percent. The deal valued Vodafone India at the equivalent of $12.6 billion and Idea Cellular at the equivalent of $11.02 billion. The deal would enable Vodafone to move its Indian subsidiary off its balance sheet, cutting the British group's net debt by the equivalent of almost $8.25 billion. The Telecom ministry (DoT) cleared the Vodofone–Idea merger on 9 July 2018. On 31 August 2018 Vodafone Idea became a legal entity and the largest telecom service provider in India.
On 3 November 2003, Singapore became a part of the community as M1 was signed as partner network. Then in April 2005, SmarTone changed the name of its brand to 'SmarTone-Vodafone', after both companies signed a Partner Network Agreement. In January 2006, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka were added to the Vodafone footprint as Vodafone Group signed a partner network agreement with Telekom Malaysia. On 6 February 2007, along with the partnership with Digicel Caribbean (see below), Samoa was added as a Partner Market. On 6 February 2007, Vodafone Group signed a three-year partnership agreement with Digicel Group. The agreement, which includes Digicel's sister operation in Samoa, will result to the offering of new roaming capabilities. The two groups will also become preferred roaming partners of each other.
On 10 February 2008, Vodafone announced the launching of M-Paisa mobile money transfer service on Roshan's (Afghanistan's largest GSM operator) network: Afghanistan was added to the Vodafone footprint.
In September 2011 it was announced that Vodafone and Smartone would not renew their partnership in the Hong Kong market. Vodafone instead entered into an agreement with Hutchison Telecom, who operate the 3 brand. In the same year, M1 also ended their partnership in Singapore.
|Czech Republic||Bulgaria||Channel Islands|
Vodafone Hungary was formed as a subsidiary company in July 1999. The acquisition of Mannesmann AG, completed on 12 April 2000, created subsidiaries in Germany and Italy, and increased the Group's indirect holding in SFR. The Vodafone brand in Italy was introduced as Omnitel-Vodafone in 2001, which became the primary brand in 2002; finally the current name Vodafone Italia was introduced in 2003, dropping "Omnitel" altogether.
In 2001, the Company acquired Eircell, the largest wireless communications company in Ireland, from eircom. Eircell was subsequently rebranded as Vodafone Ireland. In February 2002, Radiolinja of Finland joined as a partner network and later changed its name to Elisa. Later that year, the company rebranded Japan's J-sky mobile internet service as Vodafone live!, and in December 2002 the Vodafone brand was introduced in the Estonian market following the signing of a Partner Network Agreement with Radiolinja (Eesti), which later changed its name to Elisa.
In January 2003, the company signed a group-wide partner agreement with mobilkom Austria and as a result Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia were added to the community. In April 2003, Og Vodafone was introduced in the Icelandic market. On 21 July 2003, Lithuania was added to the community, with the signing of a Partner Network Agreement with Bitė.
In February 2004, Vodafone signed Partner Network Agreements with Luxembourg's LuxGSM, and with Cyta of Cyprus. Cyta agreed to rename its mobile phone operations to Cytamobile-Vodafone. In April 2004, the Company purchased a British airtime provider, Singlepoint, for £405m from John Caudwell's Caudwell Group, adding approximately 1.5 million customers and sites in Stoke-on-Trent to existing sites in Newbury (HQ), Birmingham, Warrington and Banbury. In November 2004, Vodafone introduced 3G services into Europe.
On 28 October 2005, Connex in Romania was rebranded as Connex-Vodafone, and on 31 October 2005, the company reached an agreement to sell Vodafone Sweden to Telenor for approximately €1 billion. After the sale, Vodafone Sweden became a partner network. In December 2005, Vodafone won an auction to buy Turkey's second-largest mobile phone company, Telsim, for US$4.5 billion.
In 2006, the Company rebranded its Stoke-on-Trent site as Stoke Premier Centre, a centre of expertise for the company dealing with customer care for its higher-value customers, technical support, sales and credit control. On 22 February 2006, the Company announced that it was extending its footprint to Bulgaria with the signing of Partner Network Agreement with Mobiltel, which is part of the mobilkom Austria group.
In April 2006, the Company announced that it had signed an extension to its Partner Network Agreement with BITE Group, enabling its Latvian subsidiary BITE Latvija to become the latest member of Vodafone's global partner community. On 30 May 2006, Vodafone announced the then-biggest loss in British corporate history (£14.9 billion), and plans to cut 400 jobs; it reported one-off costs of £23.5 billion due to the revaluation of its Mannesmann subsidiary. On 24 July 2006, the respected head of Vodafone Europe, Bill Morrow, quit unexpectedly, and on 25 August 2006, the Company announced the sale of its 25% stake in Belgium's Proximus for €2 billion. After the deal, Proximus remained part of the community as a Partner Network.
On 5 October 2006, Vodafone announced the first single-brand partnership with Og Vodafone which would operate under the name Vodafone Iceland, and on 19 December 2006, the Company announced the sale of its 25% stake in Switzerland's Swisscom for CHF4.25 billion (£1.8 billion). After the deal, Swisscom would still be part of the community as a Partner Network. In December 2006, the Company completed the acquisition of Aspective, an enterprise applications systems integrator in the UK, signalling Vodafone's intent to grow a significant presence and revenues in the information and communication technologies (ICT) marketplace.
Early in January 2007, Telsim in Turkey adopted Vodafone dual branding as Telsim Vodafone, and on 1 April 2007, became Vodafone Turkey. In addition, Vodafone Turkey also gives service in Northern Cyprus. On 1 May 2007, Vodafone added Jersey and Guernsey to the community, as Airtel was signed as Partner Network in both crown dependencies. In June 2007, Vodafone UK began optimising web pages accessed through Vodafone Live!, which was criticised by The Register for interfering with mobile commerce websites. On 1 August 2007, Vodafone Portugal launched Vodafone Messenger, a service with Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger. At the end of 2007, Vodafone Germany was ranked 6th in Europe by subscriber numbers, whilst its Italian operation was listed as 10th. Vodafone UK was ranked 13th, whilst Spain was listed in 16th place.
On 17 April 2008, Vodafone extended its footprint to Serbia as Vip mobile was added to the community as a Partner Network, and on 20 May 2008, the Company added VIP Operator as a Partner Network, thereby extending the global footprint to the Republic of Macedonia.
On 30 October 2008, the company announced a strategic, non-equity partnership with Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) group of Russia. The agreement adds Russia, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan to the group's footprint.
On 20 March 2009, it was announced that the group's Luxembourg partner has been changed: the agreement with LuxGSM was not renewed in favour of Tango, the Luxembourg unit of another partner network, Belgacom of Belgium.
In March 2013, the Spanish operations of Vodafone signed an agreement with Orange S.A. to co-invest €1 billion in the expansion of Spain's fibre-optic cable broadband network, which would enable Vodafone to reach an additional 6 million customers in Spain by 2017. On 24 June 2013, Vodafone announced it would be buying German cable company Kabel Deutschland. The takeover was valued at €7.7 billion, and was recommended over the bid of rival Liberty Global. In February 2014, Vodafone made an offer to acquire Spain's largest cable operator, ONO, for total consideration, including associated net debt acquired, of €7.2 billion.
In April 2017, Vodafone was rated the worst mobile provider in the UK for the seventh year in succession in a "Which?" survey.
Vodafone Global Enterprise is the business services division, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Vodafone Group. It was established in April 2007 to provide telecommunications and information technology services to large corporations.
The division offers integrated communication solutions in cloud computing, unified communications and collaboration. Its services include domestic and international voice and data, machine-to-machine services, mobile email, mobile broadband, managed services, mobile payment and mobile recording.
In December 2011, it acquired the Reading-based Bluefish Communications Ltd, an ICT consultancy company. The acquired operations formed the nucleus of a new Unified Communications and Collaboration practice within VGE, working on cloud computing and professional services.
Vodafone Global Enterprise operates in over 65 countries, with "Northern Europe" (based in London, United Kingdom), "Central Europe", "Southern Europe and Africa", "Asia Pacific & Sub-Saharan Africa" (based in Singapore) and "Americas" geographical divisions. VGE's major customers include Deutsche Post, The Linde Group, Unilever, and Volkswagen Group.
In October 2009, it launched Vodafone 360, a new internet service for the mobile, PC and Mac. This was discontinued in December 2011 after disappointing hardware sales. This was after the Director of Internet Services resigned in September 2010 tweeting "5 days before I leave Vodafone. Freedom beckons." In February 2010, Vodafone launched the world's cheapest mobile phone known as Vodafone 150, intended to sell for below $15 (£10) in the developing world. It was initially launched in India, Turkey and eight African countries including Lesotho, Kenya and Ghana.
By February 2008, the M-PESA money transfer system in Kenya had gained 1.6 million customers. By 2011 there were fourteen million M-Pesa accounts by which held 40 percent of the country's savings. Following M-PESA's success in Kenya, Vodafone announced that it was to extend the service to Afghanistan. The service here was launched on the Roshan network under the brand M-Paisa with a different focus to the Kenyan service. M-Paisa was targeted as a vehicle for microfinance institutions' (MFI) loan disbursements and repayments, alongside business-to-business applications such as salary disbursement. The Afghanistan launch was followed in April 2008 by the announcement of further a further launch of M-PESA in Tanzania, South Africa and India.
In February 2012, Vodafone announced a worldwide partnership with Visa.
In November 2009, Vodafone announced the creation of a new business unit focused on the emerging market (the application of mobile communications and network technologies to healthcare). One of its early success stories is with the Novartis-led "SMS for Life" project in Tanzania, for which Vodafone developed and deployed a text-message based system that enables all of the country's 4,600 public health facilities to report their levels of anti-malarial medications so that stock level data can be viewed centrally in real-time, enabling timely re-supply of stock. During the SMS for Life pilot, which covered 129 health facilities over six months, stock-outs dropped from 26% to 0.8%, saving thousands of lives.
The Vodafone Foundation is a recognised charity which supports and initiates projects which use mobile technology to benefit the vulnerable, using the slogan "Connecting for Good". They often work in collaboration with other charitable groups. Below are some examples of their initiatives:
Since 2017, Vodafone's global advertising has used the slogan 'The future is exciting. Ready?'. The previous slogan, since 2009, was 'Power to You'.
Sir Gerald Whent, at that time an Executive with Racal Electronics plc, was responsible for the bid for a UK Cellular Network licence. The Mobile Telecoms division was de-merged, and was floated on the London Stock Exchange in October 1988 and Sir Gerald became Chief Executive of Racal Telecom plc. Over the next few years the company grew to become the UK's Market Leader, changing its name to Vodafone Group plc in the process.
Sir Christopher Gent took over as Chief Executive in January 1997, after Sir Gerald's retirement. Gent was responsible for transforming Vodafone from a small UK operator into the global operator, through the merger with the American AirTouch and the takeover of Germany's Mannesmann.
Arun Sarin was the driving force behind the Company's move into emerging markets such as Asia and Africa, through the purchases such as that of Turkish operator Telsim, and a majority stake in Hutchison Essar in India.
|Sir Gerald Whent||October 1988 – December 1996|
|Sir Christopher Gent||January 1997 – July 2003|
|Arun Sarin||July 2003 – July 2008|
|Vittorio Colao||July 2008 – September 2018|
|Nick Read||Since October 2018|
|Year ended 31 March||Turnover €m||Profit before tax €m||Profit for the year €m||Basic eps (pence)|
In September 2010, an investigation by Private Eye magazine revealed certain details of Vodafone's tax avoidance activities. It was reported that Vodafone routed the acquisition of Mannesmann through a Luxembourg subsidiary, set up to avoid paying tax on the deal, and continued to place its profits in Luxembourg. Following a long legal struggle with HMRC (during which a senior HMRC official, John Connors, switched sides to become head of tax at Vodafone), it was eventually agreed that Vodafone would pay £1.25 billion related to the acquisition. Based on Vodafone's accounts, experts have estimated the potential tax bill written off as a result of the negotiations was over £6 billion.
The news of this legal tax avoidance sparked angry protests, beginning in October 2010 and ongoing as of April 2011, outside Vodafone shops across the UK, organised under the banner of UK Uncut. The first protests caused the simultaneous closure of over a dozen stores, including the flagship Oxford Street branch.
In 2011, Private Eye magazine and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism alleged that Vodafone's Swiss branches were run by a single part-time bookkeeper. The report claimed hardly any business was done from there, indicating that the main purpose of the Zug office was tax avoidance. The report claimed the money was borrowed from the Swiss branch of the Luxembourg company, allowing it to take advantage of Luxembourg's laws, which exempts foreign branches of companies from tax, and Swiss laws, which almost completely exempt local branches of foreign companies. According to the expose, this would have otherwise generated a British tax bill on a little over £2 billion. It said Vodafone publishes a single, combined set of accounts for its Luxembourg subsidiaries and their Swiss branches. For the one company, profits worth £1.6 billion were taxed at less than 1% in 2011, and the profits are likely to have been attributed to Switzerland. In its response to these allegations, Vodafone has said the Swiss branch has not been involved in Vodafone's global financing for a number of years. It is, therefore, irrelevant in respect to global financing arrangements.
Vodafone was also assessed a US$2.5 billion tax over its acquisition of Hutchison Whampoa's Indian assets in 2007, a demand that it contests. In January 2012, the highest Indian court ruled that Vodafone is not liable for taxes and penalties of up to £2.8 billion. However, in February 2016 India's tax department sent Vodafone a renewed tax notice of £1.4bn. Following the siding of the Indian court with Vodafone in 2012, the government changed the law to allow firms to be retrospectively taxed.
Vodafone was implicated in the violent suppression of pro-democracy protests in Egypt's 2011 demonstrations. On 27 January, Vodafone, responsible for much of Egypt's telecommunication infrastructure, shut off all voice and data services for Egyptian citizens and businesses at the request of the Egyptian Government under Hosni Mubarak. On 28 January 2011, Vodafone complied with Egyptian government instructions to suspend Internet service "in selected areas" during a period of anti-Mubarak protests. The company issued a statement that "Under Egyptian legislation, the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it." Vodafone also received public and media criticism for allowing the authorities to send mass pro-government messages via SMS over their network during the protests. One such message requested that "honest and loyal men" should "confront the traitors and criminals". Vodafone later issued a statement asserting that they had no choice but to allow the messages to be broadcast, and that they had complained to the Egyptian authorities about the practice. The Daily Telegraph of the UK reported, "The Egyptian government's action is unprecedented in the history of the internet." US-based Internet intelligence firm Renesys stated, "in an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet." Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao said the company was obliged by law to comply with the instructions of the Egyptian government. At the company's annual general meeting, on 26 June, the campaign groups Access and FairPensions asked Vodafone to endorse a plan to prevent the company facing similar demands in the future.
In Australia, particularly towards the end of 2010, Vodafone have been heavily criticised due to allegations of poor customer service and severe technical inadequacies, which earned them their nickname "Vodafail" – a website of the same name still exists. In response, they have developed a "new" network, and now provide a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.
Vodafone UK, in common with other operators, has been criticised for holding customers on regular monthly billed contracts liable for almost unlimited roaming costs when their phones are stolen abroad, despite being seemingly able to limit costs of pay-as-you-go contracts.
In October 2016, Vodafone was fined a record £4.6m by Ofcom for "serious" breaches of consumer protection rules. In April 2017, Vodafone continued to have major issues with customer service, with the CEO Nick Jeffery inviting customers with unresolved complaints to email him directly.
In October 2017, Citizens Advice undertook a mystery shopping exercise which found that Vodafone, along with EE and Three, were not reducing customers' bills after fixed deals finished which meant that they were paying an extra £22 a month on average.
In March 2019, the Indian investigation agency CBI filed a plea in the Supreme court against Vodafone and Airtel alleging non cooperation in the Saradha chitfund scam. The court listed the matter for a hearing on 8 April 2019.
This is a list of mobile network and satellite phone network operators measured by number of subscriptions.
For a more comprehensive list of mobile phone operators, see Mobile country codes.McLaren
McLaren Racing Limited is a British motor racing team based at the McLaren Technology Centre, Woking, Surrey, England. McLaren is best known as a Formula One constructor but also competes in the Indianapolis 500 and has won the Canadian-American Challenge Cup (Can-Am). The team is the second oldest active Formula One team after Ferrari, where they compete as McLaren F1 Team. They are the second most successful team in Formula One history after Ferrari, having won 182 races, 12 Drivers' Championships and eight Constructors' Championships. The team is a wholly owned subsidiary of the McLaren Group.
Founded in 1963 by New Zealander Bruce McLaren, the team won its first Grand Prix at the 1968 Belgian Grand Prix, but their greatest initial success was in Can-Am, which they dominated from 1967 to 1971. Further American triumph followed, with Indianapolis 500 wins in McLaren cars for Mark Donohue in 1972 and Johnny Rutherford in 1974 and 1976. After Bruce McLaren died in a testing accident in 1970, Teddy Mayer took over and led the team to their first Formula One Constructors' Championship in 1974, with Emerson Fittipaldi and James Hunt winning the Drivers' Championship in 1974 and 1976 respectively. The year 1974 also marked the start of a long-standing sponsorship by Phillip Morris' Marlboro cigarette brand.
In 1981, McLaren merged with Ron Dennis' Project Four Racing; Dennis took over as team principal and shortly after organised a buyout of the original McLaren shareholders to take full control of the team. This began the team's most successful era: with Porsche and Honda engines, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, and Ayrton Senna took between them seven Drivers' Championships and the team took six Constructors' Championships. The combination of Prost and Senna was particularly dominant—together they won all but one race in 1988—but later their rivalry soured and Prost left for Ferrari. Fellow English team Williams offered the most consistent challenge during this period, the two winning every constructors' title between 1984 and 1994. However, by the mid-1990s, Honda had withdrawn from Formula One, Senna had moved to Williams, and the team went three seasons without a win. With Mercedes-Benz engines, West sponsorship, and former Williams designer Adrian Newey, further championships came in 1998 and 1999 with driver Mika Häkkinen, and during the 2000s the team were consistent front-runners, driver Lewis Hamilton taking their latest title in 2008.
Ron Dennis retired as McLaren team principal in 2009, handing over to long time McLaren employee Martin Whitmarsh. However, at the end of 2013, after the team's worst season since 2004, Whitmarsh was ousted. McLaren announced in 2013 that they would be using Honda engines from 2015 onwards, replacing Mercedes-Benz. The team raced as McLaren-Honda for the first time since 1992 at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix. In September 2017, McLaren announced they had agreed on an engine supply with Renault from 2018 to 2020.New Zealand Music Awards
The New Zealand Music Awards, conferred annually by Recorded Music NZ, honour outstanding artistic and technical achievements in the recording field. The awards are among the most significant that a group or artist can receive in New Zealand music, and have been presented annually since 1965. The awards show is presented by Recorded Music NZ, and as of 2017 Vodafone New Zealand is the principal sponsor. A range of award sponsors and media partners support the event each year.SoftBank Group
SoftBank Group Corp. (ソフトバンクグループ株式会社, Sofutobanku Gurūpu Kabushiki-gaisha) is a Japanese multinational holding conglomerate headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. The company owns stakes in Softbank Corp. (ja), Softbank Vision Fund (ja), Arm Holdings, Fortress Investment Group, Boston Dynamics, Sprint (85%), Alibaba (29.5%), Yahoo Japan (48.17%), Brightstar (87.1%), Uber (15%), Didi Chuxing (ca.20%), Ola (ca.30%), Grab, Renren (42.9%), InMobi (45%), Hike (25.8%), Snapdeal (ca.30%), Brain, Fanatics (ca.22%), Guardant Health, Improbable Worlds (ca.50%), Mapbox, Nauto, One97 Communications (ca.20%), Oravel Stays (42%), OSIsoft, PingAn Heath Cloud (7.41%), Plenty United, Roivant Sciences, Slack Technologies (ca.5%), Vir Biotechnology, WeWork (ca.22%), Zhongan Online P&C Insurance (5%), Compass (ca.22%), AUTO1 Group (ca.20%), Wag (45%), Katerra (ca.28%), Cruise Automation (ca.19.6%), Ele.me, Getaround, Packet and ParkJockey, Grofers. It also runs Vision Fund, the world's largest technology fund.The company is known for its leadership by founder Masayoshi Son. It now owns operations in broadband; fixed-line telecommunications; e-commerce; internet; technology services; finance; media and marketing; semiconductor design; and other businesses.
SoftBank was ranked in the Forbes Global 2000 list as the 39th largest public company in the world, and the 4th largest publicly traded company in Japan after Toyota, MUFG, NTT.The logo of SoftBank is based on the Kaientai, a naval trading company that existed at the end of the Tokugawa shogunate, and is meant to represent a "21st century" version of their passion for the enterprise. Resembling an equals sign, it also represents how SoftBank "has an 'answer' it can provide for customers and help solve the various problems the world faces", as well as "interactive communication and the unlimited possibilities of the Internet".The Official Big Top 40
The Official Big Top 40 is a radio chart show broadcast on Global's Capital and Heart networks. The show is presented by Capital's Will Manning. Before January 2019, the show was broadcast on 140 commercial radio stations in the UK with an audience each week of 2.5 million listeners. It was the single biggest radio programme on UK commercial radio, and around twice the size of its competitor. Between 2010 and 2018 the show was sponsored by Vodafone. However, in September 2018, Bauer announced that their Hits Radio network would ditch the show to allow for 'more competition' on a Sunday afternoon. This led to Global making the decision to withdraw the show from syndication for other groups such as UKRD, Quidem, Nation and Lincs FM Group, leaving it predominantly on their own Capital and Heart networks. The chart has no affiliation with the Official Charts Company as it is based on commercial radio airplay and music download figures provided by Apple Music and iTunes. It does not measure the entire UK singles market each week across all retailers and digital services as the BBC Radio 1 Official Chart does. The chart is a combination of weekly iTunes sales data, Apple Music and other streaming sources, alongside the biggest tracks played on the radio stations that broadcast the show. It was the only UK chart to include airplay in its algorithm.Triple Eight Race Engineering
Triple Eight Race Engineering is an Australian motor racing team competing in the Supercars Championship. The team has been the only Brisbane based V8 Supercar team since its formation, originally operating out of the former Briggs Motor Sport workshop in Bowen Hills before moving to Banyo in 2009. Since taking over the former Briggs Motor Sport team during the 2003 season the team has won the Supercars Championship eight times, the team's championship eight times and the Bathurst 1000 seven times.
The team currently runs two Holden ZB Commodores for Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen. Additionally, the team provides technical support to Tekno Autosports, Charlie Schwerkolt Racing and Matt Stone Racing. The team performs its testing at Queensland Raceway.
Originally affiliated with champion British Touring Car Championship race team Triple Eight Racing and owned by Peter Butterly, Roland Dane, Ian Harrison and Derek Warwick, Dane later took majority ownership, with Harrison maintaining a minority shareholding. In late 2015, Dane sold a ~ 30% shareholding in the team to Paul Dumbrell, Tim Miles and Trinette Schipkie.Verizon Wireless
Cellco Partnership, doing business as Verizon Wireless, is an American telecommunications company which offers wireless products and services. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Verizon Communications. Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless telecommunications provider in the United States.The company is headquartered in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. It was founded in 2000 as a joint venture of American telecommunications firm Bell Atlantic, which would soon become Verizon Communications, and British multinational telecommunications company Vodafone. Verizon Communications became the sole owner in 2014 after buying Vodafone's 45-percent stake in the company.It operates a national 4G LTE network covering about 98 percent of the U.S. population, which in December 2015 won or tied for top honors in each category of the RootMetrics RootScore Reports. Verizon Wireless offers mobile phone services through a variety of devices. Its LTE in Rural America Program, with 21 rural wireless carriers participating, covers 2.7 million potential users in 169 rural counties. Verizon Wireless announced in 2015 that it was developing a 5G, or fifth generation, network.Vodafone Greece
Vodafone Greece (officially known as Vodafone-Panafon Hellenic Telecommunications Company S.A) is the Greek subsidiary of Vodafone. Its headquarters are in Halandri - one of the northern suburbs of Athens. The Display name of Vodafone: vodafone GR or Voda GR or VODAFONE GR
Vodafone Greece was established in Greece in 1992 under the trade name Panafon – with the participation of Vodafone Group Plc., France Telecom, Intracom and Data Bank, and was officially renamed to Vodafone in January 2002. In December 1998, the company listed its shares in the Athens and London stock exchange, while in July 2004 it de-listed from ATHEX. Vodafone Group Plc. is the company’s major shareholder with 99.8% of Vodafone Greece shares.
Subscriber numbers issued in Greece by Vodafone begin with the 3 digit prefixes 694 and 695 followed by a unique seven digit combination. However, not all such numbers necessarily belong to Vodafone subscribers because of number portability for mobile telephony networks.
As of 2003, Vodafone has had an exclusive contract with popular pop musician Sakis Rouvas as the spokesperson for the company in the Greek advertising campaign. Rouvas has completed multiple commercials for the company as well as advertising the brand within his music videos and albums. Likewise, Vodafone is the primary sponsor to his large concerts and recordings. While other record labels and artists do advertisements for other mobile companies as an exchange for sponsoring, Vodafone is the only Greek mobile company to be advertised primarily by a sole artist, with Rouvas' effort being a major marketing ploy to youth and young adult consumers.
At the end of June 2010, the number of subscribers to the network was 5,500,000, making Vodafone the second largest mobile network in Greece.Vodafone Idea Limited
Vodafone Idea Limited is India's largest telecom operator with its headquarter based in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Vodafone Idea is a pan-India integrated GSM operator offering 2G, 3G and 4G(LTE) mobile services under two brands named Vodafone and Idea. Vodafone Idea also provides services including Mobile payments, IoT, advanced enterprise offerings and entertainment, accessible via both digital channels as well as on-ground touch points, centers across the country. The company's vision is 'to create world class digital experiences to connect and inspire every Indian to build a better tomorrow'. As of December 2018, Vodafone Idea has 35.61% market share in India with 418.745 million subscribers, making it the largest mobile telecommunications network in India and second largest mobile telecommunications network in the world. Vodafone Idea has a broadband network of 340,000 sites, distribution reach of 1.7 million retail outlets.On 31 August 2018, Vodafone India merged with Idea Cellular, and was renamed as Vodafone Idea Limited. However, the merged entity continues using both the Idea and Vodafone brand. Currently, the Vodafone Group holds a 45.1% stake in the combined entity, the Aditya Birla Group holds 26% and the remaining shares will be held by the public. Kumar Mangalam Birla heads the merged company as the Chairman, with Balesh Sharma as the CEO.Vodafone India
Vodafone India was the Indian subsidiary of UK-based Vodafone Group plc and was a provider of telecommunications services in India with its operational head office in Mumbai. As of March 2018, Vodafone India had a market share of 21% with approximately 223 million subscribers and was the second largest mobile telecommunications network nationally after Airtel.Vodafone Ireland
Vodafone Ireland Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Vodafone Group, is the largest mobile phone operator in Ireland in terms of active subscribers. It was created when the Vodafone Group bought Eircell, the mobile arm of Telecom Éireann.
The company operates a full range of voice, SMS, MMS and mobile data services using a 2G GSM 900/1800 network and a 3G UMTS 900/2100 network capable of offering a range of broadband services including DC-HSPA+ which can deliver up to a theoretical 43.2Mbit/s. Their 4G network was launched in October 2013. Vodafone claims over 90% of the island of Ireland is covered by their 4G network within the Republic. Vodafone 4G operates on the 800/1800 network offering speeds of up to 75Mbit/s. They are also currently building a new kind of 4G called 4G+ this enables speeds of 225Mbit/s on devices that support this and the initial roll out of this service will be in major towns and cities first becoming more widespread over time. Vodafone 4G is available to over 6 cities and 500 towns in the Republic of Ireland making Vodafone the strongest and most widespread 4G service offered in Ireland. Vodafone Ireland also launched a HD voice service between customers on the Vodafone network only this makes calls crystal clear and cuts out background noise to make calls more enjoyable and easier to hear for customers you must have 3G signal for HD voice to work and also must be between Vodafone customers only calling to other networks does not work for HD voice.
Vodafone Ireland offers a full range of contract (bill pay) and prepay services, including mobile telephony and mobile broadband.
The company also offers a range of fixed-line services including traditional telephone services, ADSL2+ and fibre (FTTC) high speed broadband using the Vodafone@Home brand. These services are delivered using the eircom wholesale access network with Vodafone's own back-haul capacity. In some areas, Vodafone has made use of Local-Loop Unbundling (LLU) and has its own equipment in the local exchange operated in partnership with BT Ireland
Numbers issued by Vodafone Ireland usually start with 087 (+353 87), however full number portability is in use in Ireland so the mobile prefix is not a reliable indicator of which network the number is hosted on.Vodafone Italy
Vodafone Italia S.p.A. (former Omnitel Pronto-Italia and Vodafone-Omnitel N.V. now branded Vodafone Italia) is an Italian telephone company, which has approximately 26,000,000 mobile customers with a market share of 29,5% (placing itself just behind TIM) and 2,300,000 customers on fixed lines with a market share of 10,2% (behind Telecom Italia and Infostrada). Vodafone Italia is a fully owned subsidiary of Vodafone Group plc (100.00%).Vodafone Kabel Deutschland
Vodafone Kabel Deutschland is the largest cable television operator in Germany. Kabel Deutschland was subject to a hostile takeover bid by the British Vodafone Group in September 2013; the deal was approved in December 2013 and finalised on 29 January 2014. Until the takeover the company name was Kabel Deutschland.Vodafone New Zealand
Vodafone New Zealand is a telecommunications company operating in New Zealand; it is a subsidiary of the London-listed company Vodafone Plc. It is New Zealand's largest mobile phone operator, based in Auckland, and was formed in 1998, after Vodafone purchased BellSouth's New Zealand operations. The company employs over 3,000 people and has operations nationwide, with its main offices based in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The company is part of New Zealand Telecommunications Forum.
The company has invested millions of dollars in its 3G network, improving capacity in congested urban areas. It has New Zealand's first 4G LTE network and continues to maintain its 2G network. In February 2013, Vodafone New Zealand launched their LTE network which is currently available in 54 centres in total. In June 2014, Vodafone was ranked the fastest mobile network on the planet by speed-testing service Ookla.In October 2006, Vodafone bought ihug, New Zealand's third largest Internet service provider and now provides Internet service under the Vodafone New Zealand brand name. In 2012 Vodafone also bought TelstraClear, making it NZ's second largest ISP.
In June 2016, Sky TV and Vodafone agreed to merge, with Sky TV purchasing 100% of Vodafone NZ operations for a cash payment of $1.25 billion NZD and issuing new shares to the Vodafone Group. Vodafone UK will get 51% stake of the company. However, the proposed merger was rejected by the Commerce Commission which saw a plunge in Sky TV's shares.Vodafone Portugal
Vodafone Portugal – Comunicações Pessoais, S.A., a full subsidiary of the Vodafone Group, is the second mobile operator in Portugal, both chronologically and in market share (34% in 2006). Its competitors are NOS and Meo.Vodafone Spain
Vodafone España, S.A.U. is a mobile telecommunications operator in Spain headquartered in Madrid, Madrid. The company was founded in 2000, as a result of the merger of the shares held by Vodafone Group and British Telecommunications plc in Airtel Móviles, S.A.
Vodafone (Vodafone ES) offers GSM900/1800 MHz (2G), UMTS (3G), HSDPA (3.5G) and (4G) LTE services in Spain.Vodafone UK
Vodafone UK is a provider of telecommunications services in the United Kingdom, and a part of the Vodafone Group, the world's second-largest mobile phone company. As of December 2018, Vodafone UK has 17.2 million subscribers and is the third largest mobile telecommunications network nationally after EE and O2. In October 2017 the network had a complete rebrand and image overhaul with a new 2D logo and slogan, "The future is exciting. Ready?".Vodafone live!
Vodafone live! was the brand name for the multimedia portal service of mobile phone operator Vodafone, offering news content, picture messaging, instant messaging, email, and downloadable ringtones and games. The service officially launched on 24 October 2002, originally in eight countries. The first compatible phones were the Japanese Sharp GX10 and Panasonic GD87, and the Nokia 7650.It was initially developed by Japan's J-Phone under the J-Sky brand. Vodafone acquired J-Phone in August 2001 and the J-Sky service in Japan was rebranded in line as Vodafone live! in 2003. In addition, London-based Vizzavi which provided media content was taken full control by Vodafone (previously 50% owned) in 2002 and the brand name was dropped, being integrated into Vodafone live! The service and its content are modelled largely on NTT DoCoMo's successful i-mode service.The service was marketed extensively, using stars such as footballer David Beckham in the UK, Spain and Japan. As of May 2003 there were 1.5 million customers. In the UK market its main competing WAP portals were O2 Active and OrangeWorld.While the service itself could be looked at with any WAP browser, Vodafone live! handsets marketed by the company integrated the service with each handset's core functions. All handsets included a colour screen, a digital camera and the capability to send and receive email, SMS and MMS messages. Vodafone live! had an icon-driven interface that was the same on all compatible models regardless of operating system.In December 2004, Vodafone live! with 3G services was launched.Vodafone live! was struggling against competitors i-mode and EZweb in Japan. In 2006 Vodafone announced that its Japanese division will be sold to SoftBank Group. Vodafone live! was replaced there by Yahoo! Keitai.In September 2009, Vodafone 360 was announced to replace Vodafone live! as well as Vodafone MyWeb to replace live!Ziggo
Ziggo is the largest cable operator in the Netherlands, providing digital cable television, Internet, and telephone service to both residential and commercial customers.
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