Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Review of the Year: Closing the Loop

By Mary Lennighan and Nick Wood, Total Telecom+
Monday 23 December 13

Mobile-only operators are set to become a thing of the past as telcos increasingly seek to own the infrastructure that connects up their base stations.

Over the past 12 months the mobile operator business model has begun to unravel. 2013 marked the beginning of the end for the mobile-only operator. For some time mobile players have sought to offer a more complete service offering, by adding fixed broadband into their portfolios. But with 4G rollouts well underway–and the next generation of mobile technology just over the horizon–operators are having to think seriously about how they will cope with smaller cell architectures and the fixed assets they will require to support them. Vodafone is leading the way, but it is not the only mobile player to have addressed the fixed networks issue in 2013. Mobile operators worldwide are looking to hook up their base stations to their own fixed infrastructure one way or another, and that gives rise to one key question: whether to buy or build. Fresh from acquiring Cable & Wireless Worldwide and New Zealand’s TelstraClear in 2012, Vodafone this year picked up where it left off, launching in July a €7.7 billion tender for German cableco Kabel Deutschland, a transaction it completed in October. It was also linked with a move for Italian fixed-line provider Fastweb in June. “There’s room for mobile-only in certain countries for a certain amount of time,” says Andy Hudson, head of spectrum policy at Vodafone. “But I don’t think we’ll be talking about it in 10 years,” he predicts. Indeed, a number of major mobile operators are already moving in a direction that suggests they will not be able to call themselves mobile operators for much longer. “We would be interested to own our own fixed network…

Over the past 12 months the mobile operator business model has begun to unravel. 2013 marked the beginning of the end for the mobile-only operator. For some time mobile players have sought to offer a more complete service offering, by adding fixed broadband into their portfolios. But with 4G rollouts well underway–and the next generation of mobile technology just over the horizon–operators are having to think seriously about how they will cope with smaller cell architectures and the fixed assets they will require to support them. Vodafone is leading the way, but it is not the only mobile player to have addressed the fixed networks issue in 2013. Mobile operators worldwide are looking to hook up their base stations to their own fixed infrastructure one way or another, and that gives rise to one key question: whether to buy or build. Fresh from acquiring Cable & Wireless Worldwide and New Zealand’s TelstraClear in 2012, Vodafone this year picked up where it left off, launching in July a €7.7 billion tender for German cableco Kabel Deutschland, a transaction it completed in October. It was also linked with a move for Italian fixed-line provider Fastweb in June. “There’s room for mobile-only in certain countries for a certain amount of time,” says Andy Hudson, head of spectrum policy at Vodafone. “But I don’t think we’ll be talking about it in 10 years,” he predicts. Indeed, a number of major mobile operators are already moving in a direction that suggests they will not be able to call themselves mobile operators for much longer. “We would be interested to own our own fixed network…

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