Vodafone looks to expand into TV and internet

VODAFONE is planning to break into offering new services, such as broadband and pay-TV, in a bid to combat declining mobile phone revenues.

Vittorio Colao, Vodafone’s chief executive, said the company was planning to introduce “unified services” – contracts that bundle together mobile, broadband, landline telephone and TV – across Europe in coming years.

Colao’s comments suggest that the company is determined to seal a deal for German cable operator Kabel Deutschland, which could cost Vodafone around £9bn.

Speaking in Barcelona yesterday, Colao said: “We are going to deploy, country by country, unified services across Europe.” The company already offers broadband and TV packages in some European territories in addition to its core mobile offering.

Colao said the major opportunity for new services in the UK would be in expanding its broadband for business offering, rather than launching new consumer services at present. “For the time being the level of competition on pricing in the UK is so high that each individual segment already has pretty low tariffs,” he said.

The expansion, which will require a huge investment from Vodafone, suggests that a deal to buy Kabel Deutschland will be the first in a shopping spree. He would not comment on a potential bid for the German firm, but Colao said he looked at tens of potential acquisition targets a year.

Colao also said that the desire to spend would not put pressure on Vodafone to sell its 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless, the US mobile network it runs with the US’s Verizon.

Verizon has made it clear it would be keen to buy Vodafone’s stake.