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In two decades, Vodafone became the telecommunications leader in Global Systems for Mobile networks (www.associatedcontent.com). Vodafone provides innovative and cutting edge telecommunications services on the largest wireless network on earth. In this article, I will discuss how Vodafone was started and the growth of one of the world’s largest company.
Vodafone was formed in 1983 as a joint venture between Rascal Electronics (a UK electronic firm) and Millicom (a US telecom company), and was granted one of two mobile phone licenses in the UK (www.associatedcontent.com). That became the UK’s first mobile license. The name Vodafone came from the firm’s goal to establish a voice and data services over cellular telecommunication networks. In which, the VO is represents voice and the DA symbolizes data, hence Vodafone (www.associatedcontent.com). In 1985, Vodafone launched its service but as a Rascal subsidiary (www.vodafone.com).
October of 1987, Vodafone launched Vodapage. Which, is a paging network covering over 80% of the country (www.vodafone.com). In 1988, Rascal offered 20% of Vodafone to the public and would become Vodafone Group (www.associatedcontent.com). The beginning of the 1990s, Vodafone moves beyond the UK. In 1990, Vodafone customer base reaches 500,000 (www.vodafone.com). In October of 1992, Vodafone begins Commercial services. Vodafone was the first Portuguese company to offer a Customer Care Service available twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week (www.vodafone.com). Also, in 1992 Vodafone was named Company of the Year at Business Enterprise Awards (www.vodafone.com).
By 1993, Vodafone’s international reach extends, with licenses and partnerships in Germany, South Africa, Fiji, Australia, and Greece (www.vodafone.com). Vodafone started networks for mobile phones in these other countries. Their strategy was to acquire competitors in order to knock out competition and become more competitive than its rivals (www.associatedcontent.com). March of 1994, Vodafone joins up with the Globalstar consortium to develop and launch low orbit satellite capability to supplement land-network coverage (www.vodafone.com). Also, in November of the same year Vodafone launches digital data fax and SMS (Short text messaging) service (www.vodafone.com).
In 1995, Vodafone kept expanding in the Netherlands, Uganda, Hong Kong, and France (www.vodafone.com). November 1997, Vodafone launch of their digital ‘Pay As You Talk’ pre-paid service for their frequent users (www.vodafone.com). In 1998, Vodafone is the first Portuguese mobile operator offering and introducing mobile phone in the market offering both bounds, 900 MHz and 1800 MHz (www.vodafone.com). Vodafone reaches service revenues of 0.5 EUR billion (www.vodafone.com).
In 1999, Vodafone becomes both Internet Service Provider (ISP) and a content provider in Portugal (www.vodafone.com). Vodafone made two of the most landmark acquisitions that were those of D2 (Mannesmann; Germany) and Airtouch (US) (www.associatedcontent.com). D2 was one of the leading telecommunications providers in Germany. The Mannesmann takeover was hostile, and the first of it’s kind in Europe; this was the largest “unwanted” acquisition of it’s time (www.associatedcontents.com). The transaction was valued at $180 billion dollars (www.associatedcontent.com). The second acquisition was that of Airtouch communications in the United States (www.associatedcontent.com). Which now is called Vodafone Group Plc; this gave Vodafone its entry into US market and the ability to consolidate minority interest in European carriers (www.associatedcontent.com). The transaction was worth $60 billion dollars (www.associatedcontent.com).
In May 2000, Vodafone launches Verizon Wireless (www.vodafone.com). Vodafone and Bell Atlantic combined their US wireless assets to make up Verizon Wireless (www.vodafone.com). Vodafone launches YORN (Young Original Network), first global and integrated communications network, a brand new concept of content initiatives, events and offerings for the younger generation (www.vodafone.com).
To further their strategy in 2001, Vodafone completed a deal to acquire Ericell in Ireland, which is now Vodafone Ireland (www.associatedcontent.com). Then, Vodafone signed a strategic alliance agreement with China Mobile based out of Hong Kong (www.vodafone.com). Vodafone unleashed the first global communication campaign in August of 2001. The campaign features TV, cinema, print, online and outdoor media (www.vodafone.com).
In 2002, Vodafone gave trial of their global mobile payment system in the UK, Italy, and Germany. The trial enables customers to purchase physical and digital goods using their mobile phone (www.associatedcontent.com). In October 2002, Vodafone announced the launch of “Vodafone live!” a fully innovative concept in the integration of services and content in mobile communications (www.vodafone.com). It would provide a new consumer proposition, Mobile Office, and a new business proposition (www.vodafone.com). Also, in November 2002, launches a Vodafone Remote Access, which is a part of the mobile office. This service would give business customers an easy way to connect to their corporate LAN to access e-mail, calendar and other business specific applications while on the move (www.vodafone.com).
Vodafone in 2003 allows football fans to watch, for the first time in Portugal, an entire football match as it happens on the small screens of mobile phones through “Vodafone live!” (www.vodafone.com). In the first six months of the launch of “Vodafone live!” it attracts one million customers (www.vodafone.com). Also, at the GSM (Global Systems for Mobile Networks) Association Awards Ceremony in Cannes, France, Vodafone won the mobile industry’s most prestigious awards I two categories, best consumer wireless application or service and best television or broadcast commercial for its global consumer service, “Vodafone live!” (www.associatedcontent.com).
In 2004, Vodafone Portugal Foundation and the Ministry of Education unveil an innovative system, which provides access by the blind and visually impaired to computers with the Microsoft Windows environment, using a high quality text-to-speech reader in European Portuguese (www.vodafone.com). Vodafone also releases a new phase in the roll out of the 3rd generation mobile services with the launch of “Vodafone live!” with 3G technology (www.vodafone.com). 3G technology provides the ability to transfer simultaneously both voice data (a telephone call) and non-voice data like download information, exchanging e-mails, or instant messaging (www.wikipedia.com). The news, possibility to watch live television broadcasts, and better and faster access to new multimedia content such as video clips and true tones.
In 2005, Vodafone acquired MobiFon S.A. in Romania and Oskar Mobile a.c. in Czech Republic (www.vodafone.com). In 2006, Vodafone acquired Telsim Mobil Telekomunikasyon Hizmetleri in Turkey and launches a new global marketing campaign “Make the most of now” (www.vodafone.com). “Vodafone live!” reached ten million customers with the use of 3G technology. Also, in 2006 Vodafone launches mobile TV capability and Vodafone Radio DJ, which offers a personalized, interactive radio service streamed to 3G phones and PCs (www.vodafone.com).
Vodafone in 2007 has reached a base of 200 million customers (www.vodafone.com). Vodafone is currently working on expanding it’s 3G live, the newest version of their GSM network, to all their current markets (www.associatedcontent.com). Their goal is to go global in the next few years. Vodafone has grown primarily through all their acquisitions (www.vodafone.com). Their strategic alliances that Vodafone has participated in with innovation and cooperation to compliment their aggressive strategy of competitor acquisition (www.associatedconten.com).