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.
Today’s access network architecture is under mounting pressure due to a continued surge in the number of connected devices, a proliferation of bandwidth-intensive customer applications and dramatic shifts in usage patterns related to the pandemic, such as work-from-home and e-learning.
Learn why now is the right time for cable operators to build greenfield networks or expand their existing networks with 10G PON, arming customers with high-speed symmetrical broadband. Gain a clear understanding of the drivers impacting the access network and the various approaches being considered to deliver higher speed services. Plus, find out the best practices that operators are employing as they leverage the latest in passive optical technology to future-proof their networks.
Topics to be covered include:
Node + 0 (Fiber Deep)
DOCSIS 3.1, DOCSIS 4.0 (FDX/ESD)
FTTP and 10G PON
Provisioning 10G PON within a DOCSIS B/OSS environment