Vodafone Group Expands International Presence

LONDON -- As the M&A rumors continue to swirl around Vodafone  (LSE: VOD  ) (NASDAQ: VOD  ) , specifically its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless, the British telecom Goliath pushes on with expanding its international presence.

Yesterday, Vodafone announced that it has formed a consortium with China Mobile to bid for a mobile telecommunications license in Myanmar, formerly Burma, believed to be an important new market for the mobile industry.

The news follows the government in Myanmar doubling the number of mobile operators from two to four, and backing plans to encourage the country's development of mobile infrastructure. The two new licenses will authorize the license holders to build, own and operate a mobile network on a nationwide basis for an initial term of 15 years.

Myanmar currently has a GDP growth rate of 5.5% per year, a comparatively young and highly literate population of around 60 million, and its and mobile phone penetration is currently below 10%, which is much lower than many emerging countries.

Elsewhere, Reuters reported that Vodafone is thought to be in talks with Deutsche Telekom in Germany over a wholesale deal "that would enable the British group to offer its German customers superfast broadband and a TV service," according to "a person familiar with the situation." 

Earlier this year, it had been thought that Vodafone was eyeing up a potential acquisition of Kabel Deutschland, with CEO Vittorio Colao saying "I'd like to provide pan-European unified services," but making no mention of a specific company. 

A one-stop shop to include bundles of wireless, web, television, and phone service is a promising prospect to consumers, while a fixed-line offering in the country would strengthen Vodafone's operations that are needed to connect its radio masts as well as handle the volumes of Internet data, as it currently has to rent capacity from its rivals' fixed networks in continental Europe.

Both companies are yet to comment on the speculation.

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