China Mobile may seek tie up with Vodafone

Latest speculation about leading British global MNO

china mobile/vodafone tie-up over africa?

An intriguing rumour has surfaced in the UK’s Daily Mail here. The newspaper quotes unnamed sources as suggesting that the world’s largest MNO [Mobile Network Operator] might be interested in taking a stake in Vodafone. Which was previously the world’s largest MNO, of course. A hook up has a great deal of logic. The newspaper points out, for example, that the pair have co-operated in the past. They joined forces to bid for a mobile licence in Burma, for example. What most intrigues GoMo News, however, is references to China Mobile’s interest in co-operating with Vodafone in Africa. We can think of two good reasons behind this.

For starters, Vodafone has strong links to Afrca’s M-Pesa service which has become the world’s most successful mobile payment system.

It operates in Kenya and Tanzania but as a payment mechanism M-Pesa is ideally suited to African economies where the vast majority of the population is unbanked.

The other possible motivation for China Mobile’s interest in Africa, GoMo News believes could have some connexion to 3G.

China Mobile is the force behind TD-SCDMA, a 3G standard which is an alternative to W-CDMA and CDMA2000.

Africa is one of the few territories left where operators haven’t rolled out massive 3G compliant networks.

There’s no reason why Vodafone shouldn’t help out with TD-SCDMA. The reason that the company is currently open to takeovers is that it has just pulled out of its realtionship with Verizon Wireless.

Verizon’s 3G technology is CDMA2000 based rather than W-CDMA which Vodafone normally backs.

The main reason for doubts over whether a tie-up between Vodafone and China Mobile will happenis that industry pundits still reckon there’s another big MNO sniffing around Vodafone.

As GoMo News has frequently reported, there are constant rumours that US giant MNO, AT&T, is intrested in acquiring Vodafone.

Which might frighten China Mobile off. But we believe there is one card up the Chinese MNO’s sleeve that other observers are overlooking.

China Mobile has just last month [December 2013] announced that it can start selling Apple’s iconic iPhones.

What was the hold-up? Well, until the deal was announced the Chinese MNO couldn’t sell iPhones – because they didn’t support TD-SCDMA.

And from TD-SCDMA it’s only a short jump to China Mobile’s 4G technology – TD-LTE.

A tie-up with China Mobile could help turn Vodafone into the world’s largets MNO agian. Which would please shareholders.

About Tony Dennis

Tony is currently Editor of GoMobile News. He's a veteran telecoms journalist who has previously worked for major printed and online titles. Follow him on Twitter @GoMoTweet.
This article was published in China, Financial, TD-LTE, Vodafone, verizon and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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