2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Companies

Vodafone Group Plc
Type Public (LSE: VOD,
Founded 1983 as Racal Telecom, independent 1991
Headquarters Flag of the United Kingdom Newbury, England, UK
Key people Arun Sarin, CEO
Sir John Bond, Chairman
John Buchanan, Deputy Chairman
Andy Halford, CFO
Industry Mobile telecommunications
Products Mobile networks, Telecom services, Etc.
Revenue £29.350 billion GBP (2006)
Net income £-14.084 billion GBP (2006)
Website www.vodafone.com

Vodafone Group Plc is a mobile network operator headquartered in Newbury, Berkshire, England, UK. It is the largest mobile telecommunications network company in the world by turnover and has a market value of about £100 billion (December 2007). Vodafone currently has equity interests in 25 countries and Partner Networks (networks in which it has no equity stake) in a further 39 countries. The name Vodafone comes from Voice data fone, chosen by the company to "reflect the provision of voice and data services over mobile phones."

At 31 January 2007 Vodafone had 200 million proportionate customers in 25 markets across 5 continents. ("Proportionate customers" means, for example, that if Vodafone has a 30% stake in a business with a million customers, that is counted as 300,000). On this measure it is the second largest mobile telecom group in the world behind China Mobile. The eight markets where it has more than ten million proportionate customers are the United Kingdom, Germany, India, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Egypt and the United States. In the U.S., these customers come via its minority stake in Verizon Wireless, and in the other seven markets Vodafone has majority-controlled subsidiaries.

On 30 May 2006, the company announced a loss before tax of £14.9 billion for 2005, the biggest loss in British corporate history. The loss for the year from continuing operations was £17.2 billion and the bottom line loss for the financial year was £21.8 billion. The company was pushed into loss by impairment charges of £23.5 billion, which related to the acquisition of Mannesmann several years earlier, and losses of £4.6 billion in relation to its discontinued business in Japan. At an operating level it remained highly profitable, with an operating profit on continuing operations of £9.4 billion before impairment costs.

Vodafone in Europe

Networks in Europe
Majority-owned Minority-owned No Ownership
Czech Republic
Northern Cyprus
* Network yet to be launched. Details pending further announcements.


In 1982 Racal Electronics plc's subsidiary Racal Strategic Radio Ltd. won one of two UK cellular telephone network licences. 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 Mobilefunk. The acquisition gave Vodafone a 35% share of Mannesmann, owner of the largest German mobile network.

On 21 September 1999 Vodafone agreeded 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's 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 £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.

  • 28 July 2000: Reverts to its former name, Vodafone Group Plc
  • 16 April 2001: First 3G voice call on Vodafone United Kingdom's 3G network.
Vodafone in Iaşi, Romania.
Vodafone in Iaşi, Romania.
A map showing Vodafone's operations in Europe.
A map showing Vodafone's operations in Europe.
  • 2001: Takes over Eircell, then part of eircom in Ireland, and rebrands it Vodafone Ireland.
  • 2001-2002: Acquires Japan's third-largest mobile operator J-Phone, which had introduced camera phones first in Japan.
  • 17 December 2001: Introduces the concept of "Partner Networks" by signing TDC Mobil of Denmark. The new concept involves 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.)
  • 2 February 2002: Finland is added into the mobile community, as Radiolinja is signed as a Partner Network. Radiolinja later changed its named to Elisa.
  • 2002: Rebrands Japan's J-sky mobile internet service as Vodafone live!™
  • 3 December 2002: Brand is introduced in the Estonian market with signing of a Partner Network Agreement with Radiolinja (Eesti). Radiolinja (Eesti) later changed its name to Elisa.
  • 7 January 2003: Signs a group-wide Partner agreement with mobilkom Austria. As a result, Austria, Croatia, and Slovenia is added to the community.
  • 16 April 2003: Og Vodafone is introduced in the Icelandic market.
  • 13 May 2003: Omnitel is rebranded Vodafone Italy.
  • 21 July 2003: Lithuania is added to the community, with the signing of a Partner Network agreement with Bité.
  • 16 February 2004: Signs a Partner Network Agreement with Luxembourg's LuxGSM.
  • 20 February 2004: Signs a Partner Network Agreement with Cyta of Cyprus. Cyta agreed to rename its mobile phone operations to Cytamobile-Vodafone.
  • April 2004: Purchases Singlepoint airtime provider from John Caudwell (Caudwell Group) and approx 1.5million customers onto its base for est £405million, adding sites in Stoke on Trent (England) to existing sites in Newbury (HQ), Birmingham, Warrington and Banbury
  • November 2004: Introduces 3G services into Europe.
  • June 2005: Increases its participation in Romania's Connex to 99%; also buys Czech mobile operator Oskar.
  • 1 July 2005: Oskar of Czech Republic is rebranded as Oskar-Vodafone.
  • 17 October 2005: Vodafone Portugal launches 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 start 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) forms part of the new identity.
  • 28 October 2005: Connex in Romania is rebranded as Connex-Vodafone.
  • 31 October 2005: Reaches an agreement to sell Vodafone Sweden to Telenor for approximately 1 billion. After the sale, Vodafone Sweden becomes a Partner Network.
  • 13 December 2005: Wins an auction to buy Turkey's second-largest mobile phone company, Telsim, for $4.5 billion.
  • December 2005: Vodafone Spain becomes the second member of the group to adopt the revised logo, and it is phased in over the following six months in other countries.
  • 2006 : Rebrands Stoke-on-Trent site to be known 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 are dealt with by this call centre.
  • 5 January 2006: Announces the completion of the sale of Vodafone Sweden to Telenor.
  • 1 February 2006: Oskar Vodafone becomes Vodafone Czech Republic, adopting the revised logo.
  • 22 February 2006: Announces that it is extending its footprint to Bulgaria with the signing of Partner Network Agreement with Mobiltel, which is part of mobilkom Austria group.
  • 12 March 2006: Former chief, Sir Christopher Gent, who was appointed the honorary post Chairman for Life in 2003, quits following rumours of boardroom rifts.
  • 11 April 2006: Announces that it has 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.
  • 20 April 2006: Vodafone Sweden changes its name to Telenor Sverige AB.
  • 26 April 2006: Connex-Vodafone becomes Vodafone Romania, also adopting the new logo.
  • 30 May 2006: Announces the biggest loss in British corporate history (£14.9 billion) and plans to cut 400 jobs; reports one-off costs of £23.5 billion due to the revaluation of their Mannesmann subsidiary.
  • 24 July 2006: Respected head of Vodaphone Europe, Bill Morrow, quits unexpectedly.
  • 25 August 2006: Announces the sale of 25% stake in Belgium's Proximus for €2 billion. After the deal, Proximus will still be part of the community as a Partner Network.
  • 5 October 2006: Vodafone announces first single brand partnership with Og Vodafone which will now operate under the name Vodafone Iceland
  • 19 December 2006: Announces the sale of 25% stake in Switzerland's Swisscom for CHF4.25 billion (£1.8 billion). After the deal, Swisscom will still be part of the community as a Partner Network.
  • December 2006: Completes the acquisition of Aspective, an enterprise applications systems integrator in the UK, signaling Vodafone's intent to grow a significiant presence and revenues in the ICT marketplace.
  • 1 January 2007: Telsim in Turkey adopts Vodafone dual branding as Telsim Vodafone.
  • 1 April 2007: Telsim Vodafone Turkey drops its original brand and becomes Vodafone Turkey.
  • 1 May 2007: adds Jersey and Guernsey to the community, as Airtel is signed as Partner Network in both crown dependencies
  • 07 June 2007: Vodafone live! launches cheaper mobile Internet portal in the UK and becomes the first mobile network to focus an entire media campaign on their newly launched mobile Internet portal in the UK.

Vodafone in Asia-Pacific

Networks in Asia-Pacific
Majority-owned Minority-owned No Ownership
Hong Kong
New Zealand
Sri Lanka


  • July 1993: BellSouth New Zealand's network went live.
  • October 1993: Vodafone Australia's network went live.
  • July 1994: Vodafone Fiji's network went live.
  • November 1998: Purchases BellSouth New Zealand, it later becomes Vodafone New Zealand.
  • 1999-2000: J-Phone launched the J-sky mobile internet service in response to DoCoMo's i-Mode service.
  • December 2002: J-Phone's 3G network went live.
  • 3 November 2003: Singapore becomes a part of the community as M1 is signed as partner network
  • October 1, 2003: J-Phone becomes ' Vodafone'; J-Phone's mobile internet service J-Sky becomes Vodafone Live!
  • April 2005: SmarTone changed the name of its brand to ' SmarTone-Vodafone' after both companies signed a Partner Network Agreement.
  • August 2005: Launches 3G technology in New Zealand.
  • October 2005: Begins launching 3G technology in Australia
  • 28 October 2005: Announces 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.
  • 22 December 2005: Announces the completion of the acquisition of the 10% stake in Bharti Televentures of India.
  • 25 January 2006: Indonesia, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka are added to the Vodafone footprint as Vodafone Group signs a partner network agreement with Telekom Malaysia.
  • 17 March 2006: Announces 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
  • 9 October 2006:: Vodafone New Zealand buys New Zealand's 3rd largest I.S.P., iHug
  • 1 November 2006: Vodafone Australia signs the Australian Football League (AFL)'s biggest individual club sponsorship deal with the Brisbane Lions from seasons 2007-2009
  • 6 February 2007: Along with the partnership with Digicel Caribbean (see below), Samoa is added as a Partner Market.
  • 11 February 2007: Agrees to acquire a controlling interest of 67% in Hutchison Essar Limited for US$11.1 billion. At the same time, it agrees to sell back 5.6% of AirTel stake back to the Mittals. Vodafone will retain a 4.4% stake in AirTel.
  • 21 September 2007: Hutch is rebranded to Vodafone in India.

Vodafone in the Middle East and Africa

Networks in the Middle East and Africa
Majority-owned Minority-owned No Ownership
DR Congo
South Africa**
* Network yet to be launched. Details pending further announcements. **Network 50% owned.


  • October 1998: Vodafone Egypt network went live under the name ClickGSM.
  • 18 September 2002: Vodafone signs a Partner Network Agreement with MTC group of Kuwait. The agreement involved the rebranding of MTC to MTC-Vodafone.
  • 29 December 2003: Vodafone signs another Partner Network Agreement with Kuwait's MTC group. The second agreement involves the co-operation in Bahrain and the branding of the network as MTC-Vodafone.
  • 3 November 2004: Announces that its South African affiliate Vodacom has agreed to introduce Vodafone's international services, such as Vodafone live! and partner agreements, to its local market.
  • 3 November 2005: Announces that it is in exclusive talks to buy the 15% stake of VenFin in Vodacom Group, reaching agreement the following day. Vodafone and Telkom will then have a 50% stake each in Vodacom.
  • 08 November 2006: Announces a deal with Telecom Egypt resulting in further co-operation in the Egyptian market; and increasing of stake in Vodafone Egypt. After the deal, Vodafone Egypt will be 55% owned by the group, while the remaining 45% will be owned by Telecom Egypt.
  • 10 December 2007: Vodafone Group-led consortium is awarded the second mobile phone licence in Qatar.

Vodafone in the Americas

Networks in the Americas
Minority-owned No Ownership
Antigua & Barbuda
Cayman Islands
El Salvador
French West Indies
St Kitts & Nevis
St Lucia
St Vincent & the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Turk & Caicos


United States

In the United States, Vodafone owns 45% of Verizon Wireless, the country's second largest mobile carrier behind AT&T after their merger with Cingular Wireless. 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. The first wireless business with a national footprint in the U.S., Verizon Wireless was composed of Bell Atlantic's and Vodafone AirTouch's U.S. wireless assets and began operations on April 4, 2000. However, Verizon Communications—the company formed when Bell Atlantic and GTE merged on June 30, 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 (a joint venture of SBC Communications and BellSouth (both now AT&T)) ultimately outbid Vodafone and took control of AT&T Wireless, 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.

Latin America

On 15 November 2005, Vodafone Group announced a group-wide co-operation agreement with América Móvil of Mexico. The agreement involves co-operation on international services and roaming. The services include Voice and GPRS Roaming services, Preferred Roaming and Virtual Home Environment. Included in the agreement are the 13 networks owned and controlled by América Móvil (except Tracfone in the United States), and the various operating companies of Vodafone and its Partner Networks.


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.

Financial results

For more details, please visit

From its 31 March 2006 year end onwards Vodafone will report its results in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). It has issued results amended to IFRS standards for its 31 March 2004 and 31 March 2005 year ends for information purposes, and these are shown in the first table below.

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, eg. 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) Proportionate turnover £m
2006* 29,350 (14,835) (21,821) (35.01) 170.6 48,455
2005 34,073 7,951 6,518 9.68 154.8 43,602
2004 36,492 9,013 6,112 8.70 133.4 39,446

*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 following table shows Vodafone's results under UK generally accepted accounting principles (UK GAAP). By the end of its key acquisition drive, which ran from 1999 to 2002, Vodafone had more than £100 billion of goodwill on its balance sheet. As UK GAAP requires goodwill to be written off against the profit and loss account Vodafone has shown large statutory losses since then. However this write off of goodwill is purely an accounting adjustment and does not affect Vodafone's cash position or its ability to pay dividends. Despite the reported losses it is in reality a highly profitable company, and this is reflected in the fact that it has often been ranked among the top twenty companies in the world by market capitalisation. Vodafone's accounts for the years shown in the table below include a great number of material one off transactions, and apart from noting the rapid expansion of the group in the years covered, no conclusions about underlying trends should be drawn from the figures without examining the accounts in more detail.

Year ended 31 March Turnover £m Profit/(loss) before tax £m Profit/(loss) for the year £m Basic eps (pence) Amortisation of goodwill £m Proportionate customers (m) Proportionate turnover £m +
2005 34,133 (4,702) (7,540) (11.39) 14,700 154.8 43,602
2004 33,559 (5,047) (9,015) (13.24) 15,207 133.4 39,446
2003 30,375 (6,208) (9,819) (14.41) 14,056 119.7 33,926

1 Vodafone Group Plc. Key Performance Indicator press release for the quarter to 30 June 2005, 25 July 2005.


see Vodafone live!; Vodafone Mobile Connect USB Modem, Vodafone at Home, Vodafone 710

Corporate Sponsorship/Ownership

A Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes driven by Lewis Hamilton.
A Vodafone McLaren- Mercedes driven by Lewis Hamilton.
  • Brisbane Lions Football Club, Australian rules football team, major sponsor from 2007
  • Bucharest Ring - Vodafone Bucharest Challenge 07, primary sponsor
  • Clare Gaelic Athletic Association
  • DTM (German Touring Car Masters) series
  • England cricket team
  • Vodafone Oaks and Vodafone Derby horse races
  • McLaren-Mercedes Formula One team, title sponsor
  • New Zealand Warriors - An NRL Rugby League team
  • UEFA Champions League from the 2006/7 season
  • Port Adelaide Football Club Australian rules football team, joint major sponsor since 1997
  • Romania National Football Team, major sponsor from 2006
  • St Kilda Football Club Australian rules football team, joint major sponsor from 2007
  • Vodafone Arena (Rosenholm) multisport arena in Karlskrona, Sweden (since 2005)
  • Vodafone Arena Multi purpose venue. Arena in Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia
  • Wellington Lions - New Zealand rugby union team
  • West Coast Eagles, Australian rules football team, elite sponsor since March 2006
  • Triple 8 Race Engineering, V8 Supercars team, primary sponsor (since 2007)
  • Olympiakos, Greek football team
  • Newbury Comedy Festival
  • Newbury Buses
  • Home-Start International worldwide family support charity

Previous sponsorships by Vodafone include those of SL Benfica, Manchester United, Ferrari Formula One constructor and the Australia national rugby union team.

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