Driving economic and social development
The global footprint of our network, our significant presence in emerging markets and our track record as an innovator, enable us to make an important contribution to socio-economic development. Recent research shows a 10% increase in mobile access raises a country’s economic productivity by 4.2%.1
Like millions of other revellers, you may well have celebrated the new year by using your smartphone to call loved ones, or to text, tweet, email or even link up by video. Similar situation to Mobile mechanic London
Reaching for your mobile might seem a commonplace, reflex reaction these days. But it is a far cry from the moment – exactly 30 years ago today – when Michael Harrison stood in London’s Parliament Square to make Britain’s first ever mobile phone call to his father in Surrey.
Michael’s father was Racal – and later Vodafone – chairman Sir Ernest Harrison. And though that first mobile call only lasted a minute, it would spark a global communications revolution and has today helped make Vodafone the sixth largest company on the FTSE 100, with a value of £59bn.
It’s a far cry from Vodafone’s roots as Racal, which specialised in radio equipment and nearly collapsed in the mid-1950s before Sir Ernest arrived to get the books in order. He was one of just 13 employees, collecting £650 a year, but by the time he retired in 2000 he had created more wealth for shareholders than any other businessman of his generation.
Vodafone will demand tough remedies from the UK’s competition watchdog overseeing BT’s £12.bn acquisition of EE as part of a high-reaching strategy to expand in its home market this year.
Following the acquisition of EE by BT and the merger of Three and O2 in the UK, Vodafone will become the smallest mobile operator in its home market.
The group has also come under pressure from Sky, which recently announced plans to enter the mobile market for the first time, as well as TalkTalk, which is aggressively pushing bundled offers that undercut rivals on price
“It has been a turbulent year both in and out of Vodafone,” says Mr Hoencamp, a typically blunt-speaking Dutchman who took over as chief executive less than two years ago. “Not all market developments are necessarily good but it creates opportunity.”
But Vodafone’s priority will be to improve a network that he admits is not good enough. “Nothing else matters without the network. It isn’t as good as it should be and it isn’t as good as it can be,” says Mr Hoencamp, who spoke to the FT near the top of London’s Shard where Vodafone has installed the highest mobile connection in Europe. “Very significant improvements are being made.”
London, in particular, will benefit from an additional 1,000 mobile masts to create “world-class” coverage.
“It is not just about headline speed,” notes Mr Hoencamp, with a nod to the claims of rivals such as EE to having the fastest network in Britain.
“Customers won’t know the difference between 20 or 30 mbps [speeds of mobile data]. Our first focus is on voice. We want the strongest network.”
Millions of Australians are still being billed for calls to 1800 numbers after a group of 13 companies, including the telecommunications giant Vodafone, missed the 1 January cut-off to make mobile calls to those numbers free.
The industry set its own deadline to implement the changes in July 2014.
Vodafone had an estimated 5.2m mobile phone customers in July 2014, accounting for 17% of the mobile phone market in Australia.
Vodafone faces being reduced to a relative minnow in Britain, with BT poised to become the biggest mobile operator if its £12.5bn takeover of EE is successful and Hutchison Whampoa’s Three bulking up with a £10.25bn acquisition of Telefonica’s O2.
Vodafone said that its performance was in line with expectations and reaffirmed its target to deliver between £11.6bn and £11.9bn of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the full 2015 financial year
Vodafone and tesco blinxbox take over ? as tesco lost 20milion back in 2014? Whats the crack?
The company is looking to gain an edge on competitors by spending £19bn upgrading its network through a venture it calls “Project Spring”. Vodafone said 4G coverage in Europe is up to 65pc from 59pc previously and the overall dropped call rate continued to fall.
In total, the company has committed £19 billion to its ‘Project Spring’ investment plan, with £1 billion earmarked for the UK. The Newbury, Berkshire based firm recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Vodafone brand and has promised to open 150 new retail stores in the UK, creating 1,400 jobs.
In addition to its ongoing 4G rollout, Vodafone’s UK 2G and 3G networks will be upgraded as part of Project Spring and Colao firmly believes this investment programme will eventually bear fruit.
“We have commenced our Project Spring two-year investment programme which will accelerate our plans to establish stronger network and service differentiation for our customers,” he says. “I expect the first signs of this to become evident later this year, with wider 4G coverage in Europe and 3G coverage in emerging markets, improved network performance and increased customer advocacy.”