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Vodafone Group plc
Type Public
Industry Telecommunications
Predecessor(s) 1983 (1983)–1991 (1991) Racal Telecom
Founded 1984 (1984)
Headquarters Newbury, Berkshire, United Kingdom
Area served Worldwide
Key people Sir John Bond ( Chairman)
Vittorio Colao ( CEO)
John Buchanan ( Deputy Chairman)
Andy Halford ( CFO)
Services Telecommunications
Revenue Increase £44.47 billion (2010)
Operating income Increase £9.480 billion (2010)
Profit Increase £8.645 billion (2010)
Total assets Increase £156.98 billion (2010)
Total equity Increase £90.38 billion (2010)
Employees 79,000 (March - 2009)

Vodafone Group plc (LSE VOD, NASDAQ:  VOD) is a British multinational mobile network operator headquartered in Newbury, England. Vodafone is the world's largest mobile telecommunication network company, based on revenue, and has a market value of about £71.2 billion (November 2009). It currently has operations in 31 countries and partner networks in a further 40 countries. Based on subscribers, it is the world's second largest mobile phone operator behind China Mobile and over Telefónica, with over 427 million subscribers in 31 markets across 5 continents as of 2009. In the UK, its home ground, Vodafone has badly underperformed in the last few years due to brisk change in administration. It has slipped from first to third largest telecom operator generating a revenue of £4.9 billion from its 18.7 million customers in 2008-09. As of March 31, 2009 (2009-03-31), the company employs more than 79,000 people worldwide.

The name Vodafone comes from voice data fone, chosen by the company to "reflect the provision of voice and data services over mobile phones".

Vodafone owns 45% of Verizon Wireless, the largest wireless telecommunications network in the United States, based on number of subscribers.

It is listed on the London Stock Exchange, where it is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Previously Vodafone was listed on New York Stock Exchange, but later it indented to transfer the listing of its American Depositary Receipts, each representing ten ordinary shares of its company, from NYSE to NASDAQ. However, it would keep listing its debt securities on NYSE.

Vodafone Group

Newbury: New Vodafone Headquarters. This HQ is situated in the north western section of the grid square and the picture was taken from the west side of the building. Most of this square is residential with some farmland and some commercial activity.

In 1982 Racal Electronics plc's subsidiary Racal Strategic Radio Ltd. won one of two UK cellular telephone network licences; the other going to British Telecom The network, known as Racal Vodafone was 80% owned by Racal, with Millicom and the Hambros Technology Trust owning 15% and 5% respectively. Vodafone was launched on 1 January 1985. Racal Strategic Radio was renamed Racal Telecommunications Group Limited in 1985. On 29 December 1986, Racal Electronics bought out the minority shareholders of Vodafone for GB£110 million.

In September 1988, the company was again renamed Racal Telecom, and on 26 October 1988, Racal Electronics floated 20% of the company. The flotation valued Racal Telecom at GB£1.7 billion. On 16 September 1991, Racal Telecom was demerged from Racal Electronics as Vodafone Group.

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 1997, Vodafone introduced its Speechmark logo, as it is a quotation mark in a circle; the O's in the Vodafone logotype are opening and closing quotation marks, suggesting conversation.

On 29 June 1999, Vodafone completed its purchase of AirTouch Communications, Inc. and changed its name to Vodafone Airtouch plc. Trading of the new company commenced on 30 June 1999. To approve the merger, Vodafone sold its 17.2% stake in E-Plus Mobilfunk. The acquisition gave Vodafone a 35% share of Mannesmann, owner of the largest German mobile network.

On 21 September 1999, Vodafone agreed to merge its U.S. wireless assets with those of Bell Atlantic Corp to form Verizon Wireless. The merger was completed on 4 April 2000.

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 others 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 £112bn, then the largest corporate merger ever. The EU approved the merger in April 2000. The conglomerate was subsequently broken up and all manufacturing related operations sold off.

On 28 July 2000, the Company reverted to its former name, Vodafone Group plc. In April 2001, the first 3G voice call was made on Vodafone United Kingdom's 3G network.

Vodafone in Iaşi, Romania
A map showing Vodafone Global Enterprise' footprint.
  Vodafone Operating Countries
  Vodafone's partners and affiliates

In 2001, the Company took over Eircell, then part of eircom in Ireland, and rebranded it as Vodafone Ireland. It then went on to acquire Japan's third-largest mobile operator J-Phone, which had introduced camera phones first in Japan.

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.)


Networks in Europe
Majority-owned Minority-owned No Ownership
Albania France Austria Belgium
Czech Republic Poland Bulgaria Channel Islands
Germany Croatia Cyprus
Greece Denmark Estonia
Hungary Finland Faroe Islands
Ireland Iceland Latvia
Italy Lithuania Luxembourg
Malta Rep. of Macedonia Norway
Netherlands Russia Serbia
Northern Cyprus Slovenia Sweden
Portugal Switzerland Ukraine

In February 2002, Finland was added into the mobile community, as Radiolinja is signed as a Partner Network. Radiolinja later changed its named to Elisa. Later that year, the Company rebranded Japan's J-sky mobile internet service as Vodafone live!, and on 3 December 2002, the Vodafone brand was introduced in the Estonian market with signing of a Partner Network Agreement with Radiolinja (Eesti). Radiolinja (Eesti) later changed its name to Elisa.

On 7 January 2003, the Company signed a group-wide Partner agreement with mobilkom Austria. As a result, Austria, Croatia, and Slovenia were added to the community. In April 2003, Og Vodafone was introduced in the Icelandic market, and in May 2003, Omnitel (Omnitel Pronto-Italia) was rebranded Vodafone Italy. 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 a Partner Network Agreement with Luxembourg's LuxGSM, and a Partner Network Agreement with Cyta of Cyprus. Cyta agreed to rename its mobile phone operations to Cytamobile-Vodafone. In April 2004, the Company purchased Singlepoint airtime provider from John Caudwell (Caudwell Group), and approx 1.5 million customers onto its base for £405million, adding sites in Stoke on Trent (England), to existing sites in Newbury (HQ), Birmingham, Warrington and Banbury. In November 2004, Vodafone introduced 3G services into Europe.

In June 2005, the Company increased its participation in Romania's Connex to 99%, and also bought the Czech mobile operator Oskar. On 1 July 2005, Oskar of the Czech Republic was rebranded as Oskar-Vodafone. Later that year, on 17 October 2005, Vodafone Portugal launched a revised logo, using new text designed by Dalton Maag, and a 3D version of the Speechmark logo, but still retaining a red background and white writing (or vice versa). Also, various operating companies started to drop the use of the SIM card pattern in the company logo. (The rebranding of Oskar-Vodafone and Connex-Vodafone also does not use the SIM card pattern.) A custom typeface by Dalton Maag (based on their font family InterFace) formed part of the new identity.

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 December 2005, Vodafone Spain became the second member of the Group to adopt the revised logo: it was phased in over the following six months in other countries.

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. All cancellations and upgrades started to be dealt with by this call centre. On 5 January 2006, Vodafone announced the completion of the sale of Vodafone Sweden to Telenor. On February 2006, the Company closed its Birmingham Call Centre. On 1 February 2006, Oskar Vodafone became Vodafone Czech Republic, adopting the revised logo, and 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 mobilkom Austria group.

Vodafone HQ in Ireland at Central Park, Leopardstown Rd.

On 12 March 2006, former chief, Sir Christopher Gent, who was appointed the honorary post Chairman for Life in 2003, quit following rumours of boardroom rifts. 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. Also in April 2006, Vodafone Sweden changed its name to Telenor Sverige AB, and Connex-Vodafone became Vodafone Romania, also adopting the new logo. 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 was still 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. Finally 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, Telsim Vodafone Turkey dropped its original brand and became Vodafone Turkey. In addition, Vodafone Turkey also gives service in Turkish Republic of 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, the Vodafone live! mobile internet portal in the UK was relaunched. Front page was now charged for, and previously "bundled" data allowance was removed from existing contract terms. All users were given access to the "full" web rather than a ' Walled Garden', and Vodafone became the first mobile network to focus an entire media campaign on its newly launched mobile internet portal in the UK. On 1 August 2007, Vodafone Portugal launched Vodafone Messenger, a service with Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger.

Vodafone Lion of Munich's Löwenparade

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. In May 2008, Kall of the Faroe Islands rebranded as Vodafone Faroe Islands.

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 footprint.

On 20 March 2009, it was announced that the group's Luxembourg partner has been changed to Tango: the agreement with LuxGSM was not renewed in favour of Tango, the Luxembourg unit of another partner network, Belgacom of Belgium.

On December 2009, Vodafone Spain created a fake entry on Wikipedia to promote a mobile phone plan called "Feliz Borabó"


Networks in Asia-Pacific
Majority-owned Minority-owned No Ownership
Australia China mainland Afghanistan Armenia
India Fiji Azerbaijan Hong Kong
New Zealand India Japan Malaysia
Samoa Singapore
Sri Lanka Taiwan
Thailand Turkmenistan

In July 1993, BellSouth New Zealand's network went live, and October 1993 Vodafone Australia's network also went live. This was followed in July 1994 by Vodafone Fiji's network going live.

The Vodafone building on Fanshawe Street, corner Halsey street, looking northeast, Auckland City, New Zealand.

In November 1998, Vodafone purchased BellSouth New Zealand, which later became Vodafone New Zealand. In 1999, J-Phone launched the J-sky mobile internet service in response to DoCoMo's i-Mode service. In December, 2002 J-Phone's 3G network went live.

On 1 October 2003, J-Phone became ' Vodafone', and J-Phone's mobile internet service J-Sky became Vodafone Live!. On 3 November 2003, Singapore became a part of the community as M1 was signed as partner network.

In December 2004, Vodafone Australia agreed to deploy high-speed MPLS backbone network built by Lucent Worldwide Services using Juniper hardware.

Then in April 2005, SmarTone changed the name of its brand to ' SmarTone-Vodafone', after both companies signed a Partner Network Agreement. In August 2005, Vodafone launched 3G technology in New Zealand, and in October 2005, it began launching 3G technology in Australia. On 28 October 2005, the Company announced the acquisition of a 10 per cent stake in India's Bharti Televentures, which operates the largest mobile phone network in India under the brand name AirTel. On 22 December 2005, the Company announced the completion of the acquisition of the 10% stake in Bharti Televentures of India.

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 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. On 9 October 2006, Vodafone New Zealand bought New Zealand's 3rd largest internet service provider, iHug, and on 1 November 2006, Vodafone Australia signed the Australian Football League (AFL)'s biggest individual club sponsorship deal with the Brisbane Lions for seasons 2007, 2008 and 2009.

On 6 February 2007, along with the partnership with Digicel Caribbean (see below), Samoa was added as a Partner Market. Then on 11 February 2007, the Company agreed to acquire a controlling interest of 67% in Hutchison Essar Limited 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.

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. Along with Digicel's markets, the Vodafone brand is now present in 81 countries, regions, and territories. What is interesting to note, is that as well as being partners, Digicel and Vodafone are also rival operators in Fiji, where Digicel Fiji recently launched, and Vodafone owns a minority (49%) stake in Vodafone Fiji.

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.

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 announced a merger with 3/Hutchison via a joint venture company VHA Pty Ltd, which would offer products under the Vodafone brand. dtac in Thailand is signed as a partner network of the Group on 25 March 2009.

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 is slated to be completed by 1 September 2009.

On 31 August 2009, Vodafone enabled an extended 900mhz 3G UMTS network which functions outside their 2100mhz 3G network, boosting Vodafone's 3G population coverage from around 8% to around 94% on dual-band 900/2100mhz 3G UMTS devices.

Nar Mobile in Azerbaijan was signed as a Partner Network on 22 July 2009, while Chunghwa Telecom of Taiwan was signed on 12 November 2009.

Africa and the Middle East

Networks in the Middle East and Africa
Majority-owned Minority-owned No Ownership
DR Congo1 Egypt Kenya Kuwait
Ghana Lesotho1 Bahrain
Mozambique1 Qatar2 Libya
Tanzania1 South Africa1 UAE
1Majority stakes held through majority-owned Vodacom Group
2Effective ownership is not majority, but full control exercised by the group.

In November 1998, Vodafone Egypt network went live under the name ClickGSM.

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.

South Africa (Vodacom)

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 65% of Vodacom after purchasing a 15% stake from Telkom.

On 9 October 2008, the company offered to acquire an additional 15 per cent 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 is closed in May/June 2009.

On 18 May 2009, Vodacom entered the JSE Limited stock exchange in South Africa after Vodafone increased its stake by 15% to 65% to take a majority holding, despite disputes by local trade unions.


In December 2007, a Vodafone Group-led consortium was awarded the second mobile phone licence in Qatar, and 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 15 April 2009, Ghana Telecom, along with its mobile subsidiary onetouch, was rebranded as Vodafone Ghana.


On 28 January 2009, the group announced a partner network agreement with Du, the second-largest operator of 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.

The Americas

Networks in the Americas
Minority-owned No Ownership
USA1 Anguilla2 Antigua & Barbuda2 Aruba2 Barbados2
Bermuda2 Bonaire2 Canada3 Cayman Islands2
Chile4 Curaçao2 Dominica2 French West Indies2
Grenada2 Guyana2 Haiti2 Honduras2
Jamaica2 Panama2 St. Kitts & Nevis2 St. Lucia2
St. Vincent & the Grenadines2 Trinidad & Tobago2 Turk & Caicos2
1 Verizon Wireless
2 Digicel (Partner)
3 America Movil (Partner in some countries)
4 Entel PCS (Partner)

In the United States, Vodafone owns 45% of Verizon Wireless, the country's largest mobile carrier after their merger with Alltel. The percentage of the customer base, and revenues of Verizon Wireless that Vodafone consolidates is slightly lower, since some Verizon Wireless subsidiaries have minority investors. (Hence the exact percentages that Vodafone and Verizon report vary from period to period: in June 2006 Vodafone reported that Verizon Wireless owned 98.6% of its customers at that date.) Before this joint venture was formed, Vodafone merged with AirTouch Communications of the U.S. in June 1999, and changed its name to Vodafone Airtouch plc. In September 1999, Vodafone Airtouch announced a $70-billion joint venture with Bell Atlantic Corp. Verizon Wireless was composed of Bell Atlantic's and Vodafone AirTouch's U.S. wireless assets, and began operations on 4 April 2000. However, Verizon Communications - the company formed when Bell Atlantic and GTE merged on 30 June 2000 - owns a majority of Verizon Wireless, and Vodafone's branding is not used, nor is the CDMA network compatible with GSM phones. This relationship has been quite profitable for Vodafone, but there have historically been three problems with it. The first is the above-mentioned incompatibility with the GSM 900/1800 MHz standard used by Vodafone's other networks, and the consequent difficulty of offering roaming between Vodafone's U.S. and other networks. The other two stem from the fact that Vodafone does not have management control over Verizon Wireless. Vodafone is thus unable to use the Vodafone brand for its U.S. operations, and (perhaps more importantly) has no control of dividend policy at Verizon Wireless, and is therefore entirely at the mercy of Verizon management with respect to cash flow from Verizon Wireless.

Perhaps as a consequence of these reasons, Vodafone made a bid for the entirety of AT&T Wireless when that company was for sale in 2004. Had this bid been successful, Vodafone would presumably have sold its stake in Verizon Wireless, and then rebranded the resultant business as Vodafone. However, Cingular Wireless, at the time a joint venture of SBC Communications and BellSouth (both now part of AT&T), ultimately outbid Vodafone and took control of AT&T Wireless (the combined wireless carrier is now AT&T Mobility), and Vodafone's relationship with Verizon has continued.

Early in 2006, Verizon re-iterated their desire to buy out the remaining 45% of stock of Verizon Wireless from Vodafone Group. Vodafone has also repeatedly indicated that it would be willing to buy out Verizon's stake.

Verizon has announced that its 4G data network will be LTE, which is considered part of the GSM path and not the CDMA2000 path Verizon has been using; it has been suggested this is to appease Vodafone, which uses GSM on its own networks.

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 three companies: Telefonica Movistar, Claro, and Entel PCS.

Mobile Money Transfer Service

In March 2007, Safaricom, which is part owned by Vodafone and the leading mobile communication provider in Kenya, launched a mobile payment solution developed by Vodafone. M-PESA is aimed at mobile customers who do not have a bank account, typically because they do not have access to a bank or their income is insufficient to justify a bank account. The M-PESA system allows customers to deposit and withdraw cash via local agents, and transfer money to other mobile phone users via SMS.

By February 2008, the M-PESA money transfer system in Kenya had gained 1.6 million customers and 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. As an operator of money transmission services, Vodafone became subject to anti-money laundering regulation and in July 2008, it was revealed that it had deployed a sanctions and PEP (Politically Exposed Persons) screening solution from Datanomic for weekly screening of 2.5 million customers in Tanzania. The screening service was to be rolled out to Afghanistan, Kenya, India and Datanomic disclosed that the solution might be used to screen all of Vodafone's 300 million customers globally.

Chief Executives

Name Between
Sir Gerald Whent October 1988 – December 1996
Sir Christopher Gent January 1997 – July 2003
Arun Sarin July 2003 – July 2008
Vittorio Colao July 2008 – present

In a period just short of twenty years from its initial public offering, the Company had had just three Chief Executives. The fourth CEO, Vittorio Colao, stepped up from Deputy Chief Executive in July 2008. Each of his predecessors made a personal contribution to the development of the Company.

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. Sir Christopher was responsible for transforming Vodafone from a small UK operator into the global behemoth that it is today, 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. Faced with increased competition, and penetration rates above 100% in the more mature European markets, he saw it necessary to diversify from being a mobile-only business into a company which provided all telecommunications services. This has seen Vodafone launch DSL and other fixed-line services in markets such as Germany and the UK.

Financial results

Vodafone reportes its results in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

Vodafone has some large minority stakes, which are not included in its consolidated turnover. In order to provide additional information on the overall scale and growth trends of its business, it publishes "proportionate turnover" figures, and these are included in the tables below. For example, if a business in which it owns a 45% stake has turnover of £10 billion, that equals £4.5 billion of proportionate turnover for Vodafone. Proportionate turnover is not an official accounting measure, and Vodafone's proportionate turnover should be compared with other companies' statutory turnover.

Vodafone also produces proportionate customer number figures on a similar basis, e.g. if an operator in which it has a 30% stake has 10 million customers that equals 3 million proportionate Vodafone customers. This is a common practice in the mobile telecommunications industry.

Year ended 31 March Turnover £m Profit before tax £m Profit for the year £m Basic eps (pence) Proportionate customers (m)
2008 35,478 9,001 6,756 12.56 260
2007 31,104 (2,383) (5,297) (8.94) 206.4
2006* 29,350 (14,835) (21,821) (35.01) 170.6
2005 34,073 7,951 6,518 9.68 154.8
2004 36,492 9,013 6,112 8.70 133.4

*Losses for year to 31 March 2006 reflect write downs of assets, principally in relation to the Mannesmann acquisition. Proportionate turnover includes £7,100 million from discontinued operations.

The group's recent first quarter trading update (24 July 2009) saw management reiterating its profit guidance for the full year. Whilst revenues across Europe had been relatively weak, mirroring general economic conditions, there had been a positive showing from South Africa, with the company's Indian purchase of Hutchison Essar continuing to generate returns. Meanwhile, its joint venture with Verizon in the US had strengthened further, with Vodafone's overall customer base now standing at 315 million - 8 million having been added during the first quarter. In addition, management noted that its cost reduction programme, targeted to save £1bn in operating costs by the end of the 2011 financial year, would reach 65pc of its target by the end of the current financial year.


Motorola "T2288" (Talkabout) mobile phone, branded "Vodafone"

Products promoted by the Group include Vodafone live!, Vodafone Mobile Connect USB Modem, Vodafone Connect to Friends, Vodafone Passport, Vodafone Freedom Packs, Vodafone at Home, Vodafone 710 and Amobee Media Systems. Between June and August 2009, Vodafone suspended roaming charges within 35 different countries, allowing their customers to take their standard UK price plan abroad.

In October 2009, it launched Vodafone 360 , a new internet service for the mobile, PC and Mac. On February 15, 2010 Vodafone launched world's cheapest mobile phone known as Vodafone 150, will sell for below $15 (£10) and is aimed at the developing world. It will initially be launched in India, Turkey and eight African countries including Lesotho, Kenya and Ghana.

Corporate sponsorship

Vodafone sponsors the following teams and events:

  • Spring Fest, Annual Socio-Cultural Festival of IIT Kharagpur, as a Title Sponsor 2008
  • Techniche 09, Annual Techno-Management Festival of IIT Guwahati, INDIA as the Title Sponsor
  • Kshitij, Annual Techno-management festival of IIT Kharagpur, Strategic Partner 2008
  • Albania national football team, 2008 sponsor
  • Australian cricket team, offical sponsor of the Australian test team and home test series from the 2010-11 Ashes, taking over from 3 mobile following the two parenting companies merger.
  • Indian Premier League (Cricket), Associate sponsor
A parade during 2005 showing Vodafone as team sponsor of England Cricket Team.
  • Bucharest Ring – Vodafone Bucharest Challenge 07, primary sponsor
  • Clare Gaelic Athletic Association
  • Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM - German Touring Car Masters) series (2002–2007) (formerly D2).
  • Vodafone Oaks and Vodafone Derby horse races
  • Gaelic Athletic Association - Vodafone is one of the main sponsors of Ireland's GAA

All-Ireland Senior Football Championship for the 2009 Summer.

  • Dublin GAA - Gaelic Football team, beginning in 2010 until 2016.
  • Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula One team, title sponsor
  • New Zealand Warriors – An NRL Rugby League team
  • UEFA Champions League from the 2006/7 season
A Vodafone-sponsored McLaren- Mercedes driven by Lewis Hamilton.
  • Romania National Football Team, major sponsor from 2006
  • Vodafone Arena (Rosenholm) multisport arena in Karlskrona, Sweden (since 2005)
  • Wellington Lions – New Zealand rugby union team
  • West Coast Eagles, Australian rules football team, elite sponsor since March 2006
  • Triple Eight Race Engineering, V8 Supercars team, primary sponsor (since 2007)
  • Olympiakos, Greek football team
  • Newbury R.F.C., Newbury Rugby Club
  • Newbury Comedy Festival
  • Newbury Buses
  • Home-Start International worldwide family support charity
  • Al Ahly, Egyptian Club football team
  • UCD Ents, the Entertainments Division of UCD Students' Union – primary sponsor (since 2007)
  • Penske Racing - Primary sponsorship of the #12 NASCAR Nationwide Series, Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, and Indy Racing League IndyCar Series cars entries. A Associate sponsorship of the #3 and #6 Dallara-Honda IndyCar Series. All are through the Cellco Partners venture with Verizon. This sponsorship was moved from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series because their purchase of Alltel broke NASCAR's grandfather clause prohibiting wireless telephone companies from advertising in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and was split among all other racing efforts.

Previous sponsorships by Vodafone include those of S.L. Benfica, Manchester United, Ferrari and the Benetton (now known as Renault F1) Formula One constructors, the England cricket team, AFL sides Port Adelaide, the Brisbane Lions, North Melbourne and St Kilda, the Egypt national football team under the name of ClickGSM, and the Australia national rugby union team.

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