Already a significant cable broadband access network owner in Europe, Vodafone has struck an €18.4 billion (US$21.8 billion) deal to acquire Liberty Global's cable operations in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania in a move to create one of Europe's biggest integrated fixed/mobile service providers.
The agreement with Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY), one of Europe's biggest operators of cable networks, is the latest cable broadband M&A move by Vodafone, which has acquired cable assets in Spain (ONO) and Germany (Kabel Deutschland) during the past five years.
It will leave Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) with around 54 million cable or fiber customers and a next-generation network reach of about 110 million homes and businesses, the operator noted in a presentation to investors and analysts early Wednesday.
The transaction would make Vodafone the chief rival in Germany to incumbent national operator Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), which currently markets broadband services to around 30 million homes.
Unitymedia, Liberty's German subsidiary, would be added to the Kabel Deutschland business that Vodafone acquired in a €7.7 billion ($9.1 billion) deal in 2013, allowing Vodafone to market next-generation broadband services to nearly 24 million homes across the key European market.
Vodafone's CEO Vittorio Colao sees value in building an even greater cable broadband empire across Europe.
Under previously announced plans to extend "gigabit" network offerings to around 1 million German homes, Vodafone is pushing for a gigabit coverage target of 25 million homes by 2022. "This represents more than two thirds of the German government's 2020 fiber vision for gigabit connectivity across the country," said Vittorio Colao, Vodafone's CEO, during the presentation.
It wasn't long ago that TV was ranked by subscribers as the most important service in the bundle provided by their communications service provider (CSP). Recent research indicates that for nearly three quarters of subscribers, broadband is now the most important service. Broadcast TV is the most important service to only 15% of North American consumers, replaced by OTT video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. In addition, many different competitors are moving aggressively to stake a claim in consumers' homes.
In 2020, CSPs need to fight back by transforming their business models, which are becoming more reliant on a single source of revenue: fixed broadband services.
This webinar will focus on helping CSPs transform their business models by placing a firm focus on delivering a sensational subscriber experience and by offering compelling new services that generate value for subscribers. These actions will reinforce the CSP's strategic position in the home network and position themselves for growth in the next decade.
Key topics include:
Being the first to market with WiFi 6 technology, in response to consumer purchases of new devices over the holidays;
Having the insights needed to proactively resolve issues, often before your subscribers even know that there are issues;
Providing help desk agents with the visibility they need to resolve common subscriber issues more quickly;
Delivering a mobile app, in response to consumer demands for the ability to do some things themselves, rather than having to call technical support; and
Addressing consumer concerns around device security, privacy and control with enhanced security and parental controls.
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.