Vodafone to re-enter the U.S. market as T-Mobile MVNO

Vodafone logo_0_0

When Vodafone agreed to sell its stake in Verizon back to Verizon, I – along with many others – presumed the UK-based company was done with the States. It seemed a safe assumption given the fact that it was a big part of the country’s biggest carrier, and yet decided to sell it. And given that the company has been using its $130 billion from the deal to invest heavily in Europe. But it was a wrong assumption. Vodafone is coming back for more, but with a very different approach.

According to a press release published last night, Voda is going to return as an MVNO using T-Mobile’s network. It’s plan is to aim squarely at the enterprise market, to provide a solution specifically for multi-national clients. It’s planning to launch the service late next year (2015).

Vodafone wants to supply wireless services to more than 400 multinational clients, and a further 500 Vodafone multinational customers based outside America, but with a “strong U.S. presence”.

According to the press release Vodafone’s MNC proposition includes:

  • an unrivaled international wireless footprint, with networks in 27 countries (including 16 Vodafone markets with 4G LTE networks) extending to more than 75 countries through partner market relationships
  • proven total communications products and services for enterprise, from telecommunications expense management and security products to cloud services and Vodafone OneNet fixed-mobile converged products and services enabling employees to collaborate and communicate on any device on any network, anywhere
  • ongoing expansion of the world’s most advanced IP-VPN global network, with 91 points of presence (PoPs) rising to 212 PoPs by the end of 2015 to span 67 countries
  • and global leadership in M2M capabilities, with Vodafone SIMs now embedded in more than 18.6 million products across 23 countries

From a T-Mobile point-of-view this could give the company a bigger foothold in the enterprise market. And area where, traditionally, T-Mobile hasn’t done so well. At least not compared to the likes of Verizon which has a huge corporate customer base.

Source: Vodafone Americas

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  • Roger Sales

    It’s a great move for Vodafone and T-Mobile – its coming at a time where T-Mobile will be covering 300M POPs in voLTE and Vodafone gets a great new network to piggyback on at a more reasonable price than dealing with AT&T(or dealing with Verizon’s CDMA’s legacy network at any juncture).

  • UMA_Fan

    Interesting also is that it’s likely when Vodafone Europe customers roam in the US their phones will likely say ‘Vodafone’ and not T-Mobile.

    • calilove

      I wonder if when this happens the phones that they release here will they display “VODAFONE” or tmobile or something else?

      • TylerCameron

        Straight Talk does the same thing. Why does Telcel have an MVNO? .-.

  • jacky

    this is going to give a huge advantage to t mobile business customers, ITS HUGE. also international companies that resides in usa.

    • fentonr

      How? T-mobile is being added to a list of carriers that Vodafone business customers can roam to, how does that help T-Mobile customers?

      • jacky

        simple choice global plan will expand.

  • conjecturer

    Cam- on your closing point, T-Mobile is not getting into the enterprise market directly. They’re providers on the wholesale side and it’s up to Vodafone sales to make the case for a Vodafone branded product.

  • bryck

    I see Vodafone buying DT’s share in 2 to three years maybe even sooner. Which is fine by me.

    • superg05

      it would be nice maybe?

    • JimInChicago

      Cam does a great job but I have totally expected Vodaphone to buy T-Mo since they pulled out of VZW. GSM and an established base make sense for Vodaphone.

    • fentonr

      Maybe, although I would have thought that if they were going to use that cash to reenter the market they would have done so quickly while they could still buy a carrier for cheap.

    • Trevnerdio

      Surprise! T-Mobile’s back, baby lol

  • Clifford Haight

    Interesting, I’ll have to look into this. As tmobile’s enterprise options are poor.

  • kevev

    With more MVNOs and T-Mobile dropping their prices so fast(I’m not complaining), isn’t this going to affect network performance? If they don’t pick up the pace with the upgrades and adding more spectrum the network could begin to sag like Sprint. Maybe I am just paranoid but I have noticed much slower speeds throughout the year.

    • donnybee

      Luckily, MVNOs are on a different prioritization with the network. MVNO customers usually are managed as “second-best” when compared to actual network subscribers. So only their experience would be downgraded in a case where it would affect any performance.

    • Mike Palomba

      Also T-Mobile and Sprint are almost even in terms of customers as of now, yet T-Mobile’s network is still A LOT better then Sprints. If they keep adding customers and stop upgrading towers then yes, eventually it will get a lot slower. But with wideband in about 25 markets now and the spectrum they may get from the AWS-3 auction, I don’t think there’s anything to worry about in therms of the network slowing down in the near future

      • jacky

        26 markets now mike, t mobile is ahead of schedule for wideband network nationwide buildout.

      • Daniel Darnell

        Not in my market, Sprint blows T-Mobile out of the water in data speed and data coverage here. Many parts are still EDGE on T-Mobile while Sprint has had LTE in the same spots for well over a year.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          That’s good for you. But Sprint lacks nationally in speed. But hey whatever works for the customer

        • Daniel Darnell

          I live in a former SunCom market and T-Mobile has neglected much of the SunCom area. Much of the network is still EDGE and even where T-Mobile has LTE markets like Charlotte, NC have limited spectrum and slower speeds on T-Mobile LTE than other carriers. For the most part in NC/SC and the Tri-Cities, TN/VA area Sprint blows T-Mobile out of the water it’s not even a comparison.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          True. Both lack in certain area. But tmobile is buying more spectrum hopefully they will pick up some for NC/SC

        • Romdude

          I live in Honolulu where we have wideband LTE, T-mobile blows Verizon out of the water, Sprint is not even in the picture. Strangely enough, there is a certain spot where Sprint has better dl speed at 5mbps while Verizon had 1.5mbps while I had lower LTE too but still fast at 26mbs.

    • fentonr

      You’re right, although that assumes that they aren’t upgrading the network, which they are at a pretty impressive speed. They’ve also done a lot to lay the groundwork for future expansions in the next few years. The work that they did last year and this year was pretty impressive considering they were starting from scratch without even a plan.

  • Cellphone Chris

    Good deal for T-Mobile. Allows another revenue infusion without cannibalizing any of its own sales channels. Hopefully the cost of entry for Vodaphone is significant enough to allow T-Mobile to invest in more infrastructure.

    • fentonr

      Yeah, I doubt its a lot of revenue but its about as close to free money as you can get, basically no coat to push the additional traffic over the network and no onboarding cost to T-Mobile.

  • sushimane

    Does this mean vodafone gives T-Mobile cash to use T-Mobile network?

    • superg05


    • Fabian Cortez

      Not as much as postpaid subscribers.

      I have a feeling T-Mobile leveraged their relatively low rates, coupled with their very advanced network, and their ongoing momentum to ink this deal.

      AT&T’s deal was probably terrible as usual.

      • Most likely, this is timed with the expiration of the deal Vodafone has with AT&T to support its M2M customers in the United States. Vodafone prefers to have partnerships with mobile network operators now, since it leads to better flexibility and more business opportunities.

        • superg05

          your so insightful i would love them to let you write another article

  • It makes sense, since the CDMA plantation is an American thing, while Vodafone customers enjoy the advantages of a global standard instead.

  • FILA

    unlimited everything for $20/month, lol

    • Romdude

      I hope you got that money from the tooth fairy and say hi to Santa for me too.

      • Guest

        i have that plan on t-mobile already so there’s nothing imaginative about it

        • Romdude

          How the hell did you manage that? Oh wait, you are grandfathered in and you aren’t including the plan, just the data right? Sorry misunderstood. Too many people here are almost asking for free stuff.

    • MarylandUSA

      The closest offering is T-Mobile’s prepaid plan for new customers: $30 for 30 days of 5GB of LTE, unlimited texting, and 100 minutes of voice. 100 minutes is no longer painful since October, when Google Voice became fully integrated with Hangouts. If you have a Google Voice number, all your calls, both incoming and outgoing, can now be routed as data, with crystal-clear quality.

  • hanfeedback

    Hopefully Tmobile will get some 4G roaming out of it,i.e. not throttled or at very reasonable prices so they can come off the $50 for 500mb deal.

  • qmc

    I bet vodafone also cares less about the non-metro coverage weakness too, since most business travelers are going to the major metros

    • Vodafone will be supporting its M2M, business travelers, and multinationals with this MVNO. Instead, I see this as putting strong confidence into T-Mobile’s network expansion plan that brings its coverage up to the same level as AT&T and Verizon.

      • maximus1901

        I don’t see how. For every att ow band site, TMO needs 3 mid band site to equal coverage. And TMO will be doing this in areas with no customers.
        But 3x the CAPEX and OPEX while having lower arpu than att.
        Something has to give.
        Most likely they’re no gonna cover same sq miles with pcs/AWS lte.

        TMO will deploy 700 b12 but only a fraction of their customers have b12 phones.

        • Keep in mind that there’s a ton of options to lower the cost of rolling out to more people, including partnerships with local companies, reusing existing infrastructure, and rolling out its own sites using its spectrum.

          Also note that when it comes to CAPEX and OPEX costs, it’s not strictly 3X. Depending on the geography and existing site availability, it may cost much less. Most of the US has been built for PCS/AWS spacing over the last decade and a half, so the site locations needed already exist.

  • MrRadar

    No mention that Ting is coming to T-Mobile as well?

    • Mike Palomba

      Is is ting coming toT-Mobile? I haven’t heard anything about that

      • fentonr

        Yeah, I believe windows central had an article about it a few days ago. They’re going to continue to use Sprint as well.

        • Mike Palomba

          How are they going to use both? They both use different network types and Sprint doesn’t support T-Mobile phones, or any other carriers phones for that matter

        • fentonr

          Certain phones will run on T-Mobiles’ network while other will run on Sprints I expect, that’s usually how cross Carrie MVNOs do it. TracPhone is a good example, last I knew, and this was a few years ago so it may have changed, they had some phones that ran on T-Mobiles’ network, others on AT&T and still others on Verizon. Basically all that needs to be done to support this is the MVNOs billing system needs to interface with multiple carriers.

        • Romdude

          I think they mentioned using dual sims? I forgot where I read that.

    • I wish Republic Wireless would make this kind of move too. They’d be greater if they didn’t just run on Sprint’s lagging “4G” network.

  • Irfan

    awesome :

  • Alex Besen

    Congrats T-Mobile for signing Vodafone.

  • Nery

    The thing I hate of tmo is that not everywhere is wideband here in LA. I’m very close to DTLA but do not get higher speed than 1mb

  • josephsinger

    Cam, pardon the nitpick, but “It’s plan…” should be its plan. It’s is a contraction for it is. Its is the possessive word you are looking for.

  • josephsinger

    I was sort of wondering with all the talk of T-Mobile being for sale that Voda did not make an offer.

  • Dakota

    Cam MVNO seems to do well for Tmobile. Can you ask them why they won’t let Straight Talk offer their LTE? ST offers LTE with an ATT Sim but Tmobile only hspa.

    • TylerCameron

      Why would anyone be on ST when cricket exists? Cricket has a MUCH better deal.

      • Mike Palomba

        Or metro

  • D Velasquez

    watch Vodafone buying T-Mobile….

  • Anthony S Jennings

    I’m all for Vodafone returning to the United States market. Hopefully, they will enjoy a great partnership with T-Mobile US, then buy it and rebrand.