29 December 2006

Vodafone in India

This story in BusinessWeek isn't hot off the press at this point. In fact, you might enjoy Om Malik's analysis as well. However, I find a couple of things that are particularly interesting at a meta level:

The article reports that Vodafone is pursuing this acquisition to find growth. Growth, ultimately, is growth in revenues, but it is also closely related to growth in subscribers because of weak network effects and scale/scope economies at work. Vodafone is by no means alone here. Having finally digested the expensive spectrum auctions of the late 1990s, they are finding growth relatively weak in their "home" markets (Europe) despite the rollout of 3G technologies such as HSDPA.

Update (2007/1/5): This article in BusinessWeek indicates that interest in India's carriers is very hot. Note that Verizon and Vodafone operate Verizon Wireless as a joint venture ...

Update (2007/1/10): After meeting with the Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath, this bid appears to be moving forward.

Update (2007/1/17): This analysis is insightful, building a case for the importance of this acquisition to Vodafone

Are expectations of 3G-related revenue growth modest enough to warrant an investment of this kind?

Is this a useful model for a developing country? I.e., to invest organically in its infrastructure to the point of "viral" growth and then to consider a partnership with a carrier based in and industrialized country to complete the rollout?

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