Monday, April 23, 2012

Vodafone snaps up Cable & Wireless

Vodafone looks to have succeeded in its ambition to buy up commercial network provider Cable & Wireless for a projected £1.04 billion ($1.76 billion), or about 40% of the estimated break up value of the company.

Assuming it is successful, Vodafone will gain; a national fibre-optic broadband network that is separate from BT or Virgin Media's), a massive portfolio of business customers and a global backbone infrastructure that reaches out to over 160 countries via its network of undersea cables. 

Suggestions are that the latter will probably be sold off so that Vodafone can concentrate on winning more enterprise customers at home, which is probably what they will do.  Though as a long term play, especially if they are interested in servicing large enterprise customers, I think that would be as strategically unwise as the BT forced sale of its mobile phone business...

C&W has a lot of customers but not as many as you might think, remember they have been in serious decline for over 10 years, I rather consider them to be the GEC/Marconi of the UK Telecoms Industry, the parallels are clear.

The real coup with this acquisition is not the customers or the international fibre, it is that UK national fibre infrastructure that they will take possession of as the deal completes.   Since 2010 when the use of smart phones and mobile devices saw the cellular data traffic move ahead of voice the one the largest cost-of-service-delivery items has been the amount of money that Vodafone has had to pay to BT for backhaul, and from here on in the Vodafone will benefit from the coming explosion in mobile (I don;t think mobile is even ouf the gate yet...)

Bottom line. Buying up C&W gives Vodafone its own infrastructure the reduction in backhaul costs will dramatically improve its revenue per user with all the potential advantages that this brings forth customers and investors.

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