Most Americans probably never think much about Vodafone, and maybe have never even heard of the U.K.-based company. But the company just happens to be the largest mobile operator in the world by revenue, and it is one-half owner of Verizon Wireless, with Verizon (fittingly enough).
But Vodafone could get in the news a bit more as it looks to buy T-Mobile UK. As I chronicled a couple weeks ago, most American phone companies are actually in fact related to the original “Ma Bell,” or AT&T. Today’s AT&T is a coming together of several of the post-break up “Baby Bells,” and so is Verizon. T-Mobile isn’t one of those, because as the name suggests it is a mobile phone only carrier. The company’s parent is Deutsche Telekom and isn’t related to the AT&T offspring.
This might not actually mean a lot today to most mobile users in the United States, but if you travel around the world it is part of the ever-changing global landscape. It could mean that those with T-Mobile or Verizon in the U.S. might find it easier to make a phone call in the U.K.
And interestingly enough, while Vodafone is the number one company by revenue, it has just 25 percent of the UK market share, but acquiring T-Mobile UK would bring its share up to 40 percent. This alone is worth watching, just to see if regulators in the U.K. will allow one carrier to control so much of the market. Of course, industry analysts are already pointing out that similar circumstances exist in France, Italy and Spain. There is always a chance we could see still more consolidation within the U.S.
Report: Americans Would Drop Mobile Data Service to Save Money
While the mobile Web is still seen as “the next best thing,” it could face a threat no one saw coming; namely, the economy. According to new data from research firm Strategy Analytics nearly half of Americans would drop their mobile data service completely if faced with the need to reduce household spending. But just 10 percent would be willing to cut the cord on wired broadband service, and only about 12 percent would drop digital television service.
The findings were part of a new survey conducted of 1,110 households in June, and found that 17 percent said they’d scale back to a lower tier for mobile data, while 28 percent said the same for mobile voice. By contrast, 67 percent of users said they wouldn’t change a thing with their current broadband service.
Of course part of the reason for this is no doubt that it would be far easier to live without something new such as mobile Web access, while it would be very hard for most users to go back to the days of dial-up. Likewise, the survey doesn’t point out that the costs for home broadband is actually quite affordable today and dial-up as an alternative hardly saves any money. Nor does the survey take into account that consumers are already likely cutting premium movie channels to pinch a few pennies.