[Standards and Usage] [European Countries] [Rest of the World]
In Europe the existence of state monopolies meant that fixed lines systems were unreliable, expensive and not readily accessible (there were few public pay phones and they did not work). As a result the public have really taken to mobiles that have been provided by private companies engaged in intense competition. The pan European agreement to standardise on the GSM system for digital phones has brought economies of scale for the manufacturers, thus lowering the costs such that the operators could afford to subsidise the handsets. In the last year, pre-paid phones have been incredibly popular and now account for most of the growth.
Mobiles phones were first popular in Scandinavia where second homes in remote areas made fixed line costs expensive. Finland now has more mobiles than fixed lines and the world's highest penetration at 60%. As a result, Finland's Nokia (once a manufacturer of toilet paper) and Sweden's Ericsson have become the major producers of mobile phones pushing innovation to the limit. In less than a decade mobile phones have strunk from the size and weight of a house brick to ones that can slip in a shirt pocket. Yet battery life can now be measured in days rather than hours.
Globalisation and the rise of massive companies, often with US partners, is causing concern to the smaller European operators and consolidation is underway.
[Norway] [Portugal] [Spain] [Sweden] [Switzerland]
The Austrian carrier tele.ring is 75% owned by the German company Mannesmann.
Orange, recently acquired by Mannesmann, has stakes in the Austrian mobile market.
Austria's max.mobile network is owned by Germany's Deutsche Telekom.
Orange, recently acquired by Mannesmann, has stakes in the Belgium mobile market.
Vodaphone owns 25% of Belgacom Mobile through its acquisition of AirTouch (January 1999).
Finland is home to Nokia. It has the world's highest penetration of mobile phones at 60%. In the 18-25 age range it is an incredible 110%.
The French company Cegetel is 15% owned by the German company Mannesmann.
Vodafone owns 20% of SFR (January 99).
Rumours are that Vivendi, the dominant shareholder in France's second largest phone company, is talking to Royal KPN, Netherlands' biggest phone company, about the possible merger of their mobile phone units (December 1999).
France Telecom is launching a business service using Palm Pilots offering internet access, access to corporate applications, e-mail, scheduling, and diary. (February 2000).
Germany has a number of major telecommunications companies that intend to become world players including mobile phones.
Mannesmann is being transformed from a dull engineering company into Europe's largest mobile operator. With the take-over of the UK Orange mobile operator it now (October 1999) has 20m customers throughout Germany, Italy and the UK as well as fixed line operations in Germany and Italy and operations in Austria and France. Before the acquisition of Orange, the telecommunications operations were generating 75% of profits on just 25% of group sales. Mannesmann intends to become an ISP and an ASP, to offer private intranet and portal services, and in fact to be in all aspects of the internet and e-commerce from games, travel, finance and education through to payment and delivery systems.
Mannesmann is now aggressively fighting a hostile £82bn bid from Vodafone AirTouch. Mannesmann believes the take-over would result in write-downs of £65bn over 20 years for goodwill and the need to spend £35bn cash to buy the shares of reluctant shareholders. Should acquisition succeed then it is likely that Vodafone AirTouch will have to divest Orange either by selling or by providing Orange stock to Vodafone shareholders. The bid looks to be long drawn and messy. In mid January 2000, Mannesmann will announce its Internet and e-business strategy.
Deutsche Telekom, Europe's biggest phone company, owns the UK's One2One mobile operator, Germany's D1 network and Austria's max.mobile network. In April 2000 it intends to float its T-Mobile cellular business late this year or early next. It also announced that it plans an earlier float of its T-Online Internet subsidary that could value the business at Ecu 20bn making it the worlds biggest Internet IPO. The money would be used to accellerate its worldwide expansion. T-Online has 4m Internet users in Germany.
In 1999 KPN, the Dutch telecoms company, purchased Vodafone's 17.2% stake in E-Plus, Germany's 3rd largest mobile network. BellSouth Corp also has a stake in E-Plus.
Vodafone gained 34.8 % of D2 Privat through its acquisition of AirTouch (January 1999).
Siemens is keen to develop mobile phones and was reported (February 1999) to be in talks with Microsoft, Sun and the Symbian consortium. It has launched a new information and communications division to spearhead the work. In November 1999 it formed a joint venture with Japan's NEC. Called Mobisphere, it is to design and manufacture the infrastructure equipment for the next generation of UMTS mobile phones but not the handsets. They will invest more than $1bn over the next 10 years with the aim of capturing 10% of the market.
Marconi, the new name for the remainder of GEC after it divested its defence business, has acquired Robert Bosch, the German public network company, for £95m. (November 1999).
Vodafone owns 55% of Panafon (January 99).
Telecom Italia Mobile is Europe's second largest operator with 18m customers (October 1999). Telecom Italia, the parent, is subject to a hostile takeover by Olivetti (March 99).
Omnitel is the number two mobile carrier in Italy with 7.9m customers (October 1999). It is 55% owned by the German company Mannesmann. Mannesmann also owns a fixed line subsidiary in Italy.
Vodaphone owns 17.8% of Omnitel Pronto through its acquisition of AirTouch (January 1999).
Vodafone owns 80% of Vodafone (January 99).
Vodafone owns 70% of Libertel (January 99).
Rumours are that Royal KPN, Netherland's biggest phone company, is talking to Vivendi, the dominant shareholder in France's second largest phone company, about the possible merger of their mobile phone units (December 1999).
Vodafone owns 50.9% of Telecel through its acquisition of AirTouch (January 1999).
Vodafone AirTouch owns 21.7% of Airtel through its acquisition of AirTouch (January 1999). Airtel has 4.3m customers (December 1999). In December 1999 Vodafone was trying to strike a deal with Banco Santander Central Hispano (BSCH) which owns 30.5% of Airtel, which it wishes to divest. BT has a 21.7% stake in Airtel and is not happy as any deal would make it have a minority stake with its UK rival Vodafone then in overall control. BT has invoked a clause in Airtel's shareholder's agreement stipulating any additional equity should be shared with the other shareholders. BT proposals a deal giving them both joint control. Currently Airtel has no owner with overall control. In January 2000, Vodafone strengthened its position when it made a deal with minority shareholdings, who are not party to the shareholder's agreement. They agreed that should they sell their holdings, worth a combined 17%, they would sell them to Vodafone.
Sweden is home to Ericsson and like Finland has a very high penetration of mobile phones.
Vodafone owned 20% of Europolitan (January 99) and then acquired another 51.1% when it acquired AirTouch.
Orange, recently acquired by Mannesmann, has stakes in the Swiss mobile market.
[Argentina] [Australia] [Brazil] [Canada] [China] [New Zealand] [Singapore] [South Africa] [South Korea] [Japan]
Hutchison, which recently sold it's UK mobile company Orange to Germany's Mannesmann, still retains interest within the Australian mobile market.
Vodafone owns 91% of Vodafone (January 99).
Vodafone owns 100% of Vodafone (January 99).
Vodafone owns 38.8% of CelTel (January 99).
Vodafone owns 11.7% of the mobile operator Shinsegi Telecom. It is in negotiation to increase this to about 28%. (January 99).
|Vodafone owns 13-15% of J-Phone Digital TU-KA through its acquisition of AirTouch (January 1999).||
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