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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Leveraging Multinational Networks

My Cyberfreund, Tim Poulus, pointed out the recent MVNO deal by Maroc Telecom in France on the SFR network. This is actually getting quite interesting because it is an example of a telco multinational leveraging its overseas assets. Vivendi is the majority owner of both SFR and Maroc Telecom.

Tim also points to the success of the Ay Yildiz sub-brand of KPN in Germany. My initial thought on this is that Vodafone must be thinking of a counter-attack based upon the newly acquired Turkish network. Vodafone obviously has a cost advantage in call delivery between Turkey and Germany, but this is probably not enough. Perhaps, Vodafone should add new services such as the ability to transfer money between Germany and Turkey? They could even use their newly developed money transfer product from the Kenyan subsidiary. Pat Phelan over at Roam4Free writes about the size of the opportunity looking at Western Union profits of US$1.3bn in 2005.

In fact why should Vodafone limit itself to Germany? Supply in the UK building and plumbing services market has dramatically improved over the last couple of years with the mass migration of vast number of Polish workers to the UK labour market: in total the Home Office estimates there are 600k migrant workers from Eatern Europe. Vodafone needs to move fast into this market: although Vodafone owns networks in Eastern Europe, it is nowhere near as strong as the T-Mobile.

Vodafone could also develop similar products for the old Commonwealth Countries such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India. There is huge number of immigrants, transient workers and students from these countries.

Vodafone needs to discover new ways of leveraging its size advantage, especially in the current era whereby Brussels is seemingly determined to reduce roaming revenues.