As the UK’s network operator space goes consolidation crazy pressure has mounted on Vodafone to make a move. Here's a look at some of the ways the network could show it’s still a force to be reckoned with:
The idea that Vodafone could buy Sky is hardly a new one, the two firms have an established relationship. However, Sky would be an expensive purchase, although the combination of Vodafone and the media giant would be a force to be reckoned with.
…Buy Talk Talk
Shortly before the Vodafone’s half year results the industry was awash with rumours that the brand was poised to buy Talk Talk. Then several days later it was announced that the MVNO had switched from the using the Vodafone network to O2, seemingly dashing the rumour. Talk Talk would certainly be the cheapest existing quad play firm to buy, whether that means that it is a more sensible bet is another matter all together
…Buy Liberty Global
The major benefit of any deal to buy Liberty Global would be gaining Virgin Media and giving the network a platform to build out its quad play proposition from. There are two big issues though; Liberty Global would be an expensive acquisition and there may also be competition issues at European level. A mobiletoday.co.uk poll found that the majority of readers believed they were the more sensible purchase ahead of Talk Talk and Blinkbox, but whether that means they are the right option is another matter.
…Push themselves into quad play
Vodafone has already announced that it will be launching a broadband service in 2015 with TV to follow ‘at some point’. One choice is for the brand to follow EE’s lead and push themselves into the full range of quad play services. This would be an expensive option even for a company with as deep a pockets as Vodafone. But it may be the route it ends up taking.
…Bid for content
In television terms content is crucial, one way of getting a head start in this domain and indeed one very useful thing to own is exclusive content. If the firm bids on sports rights or were to do a deal with a major TV production company that could be a way to drive people to use its service. As more services are bundled together the importance of owning the rights to the most popular content grows and grows.
…Buy EE or O2
The competition authorities would surely have something to say about any deal that saw Vodafone acquire one of its major rivals. But if consolidation is going to occur in the UK market it might be worth having a look at O2 and EE who are both up for sale. A combined offering would be a powerful force in the UK mobile market
…Look to sell
Again this is a very unlikely suggestion, it would be incredibly expensive for anyone to buy Vodafone and it would be hard to figure out who would it would be in the position to make the acquisition. Nevertheless, if perhaps a large American network wanted a route into the UK there would be few better bets than Vodafone.
It would be a dangerous tactic but Vodafone could just sit tight and see how things play out. The brand are still in a strong market position and rushing into an acquisition or new service may not be the best thing to do.