Vodafone taps T-Mobile US to re-enter U.S. market
International mobile telecommunications provider Vodafone Group announced plans to re-enter the U.S. space through its Vodafone Americas subsidiary operating as a mobile virtual network operator running across T-Mobile US’ network. The service is expected to launch in late 2015.
Vodafone Americas said the offering would target its more than 400 multinational customers based in the U.S., as well as another 500 multinationals based outside of the U.S. but with a “strong U.S. presence.” Vodafone Group counts more than 434 million wireless customers through its directly controlled operations across 27 countries and partnerships in an additional 49 countries.
In addition to the mobile service, Vodafone said it plans to roll out its OneNet global converged communications proposition across its U.S. multinational customer base.
The partnership with T-Mobile US comes despite Vodafone’s heated rivalry with T-Mobile US parent company Deutsche Telekom in a number of European markets. However, former T-Mobile US CEO Philipp Humm left that position in mid-2012 to join Vodafone as CEO of its Northern and Central European operations.
T-Mobile US has moved aggressively into the MVNO space, announcing earlier this year a deal with Univision Communications to target the Hispanic market, as well as powering mobile-branded services from large retailers like Walmart and Target. T-Mobile US said it added 555,000 net customers through its wholesale channels during the third quarter of this year, up from the 351,000 subscribers added during the same period in 2013.
For Vodafone the move will put the international giant back into a hotly competitive market. Vodafone earlier this year sold its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications for $130 billion, ending its partnership with the United States largest wireless operator. Vodafone gained its stake in Verizon Wireless through the formation of the wireless operator in 2000, following the merger that combined wireless operations from Bell Atlantic, PrimeCo Personal Communications and Vodafone AirTouch.
Vodafone recently stuck a deal with Rogers Communications in Canada calling for Rogers to be Vodafone’s “exclusive partner in Canada,” with the two companies agreeing to “explore new business opportunities as well as offer customers a range of products and services, including 4G roaming services.”
By Dan Meyer