Vodafone ponders and prepares to bulk up

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Did you know about Vodafone’s Flipfont app? No, I didn’t think so; it seems to have gone more or less unnoticed. Well, it allows you to – listen to this – customise your phone frontpage. Woah! How cool is that? The downside? Well, you need to pay £1.99 for the pleasure, per screen! I don’t think so… And, apparently, (now) so does Vodafone. Amidst the iPhone/AppStore rage and the “revelation” that UI might actually matter to people, they seem to have realized that changing a font will not necessarily change the uptake of consumption to new levels. And because they cannot have the iPhone (although it has the Blackberry Storm, which is performing much better than the initial damning reviews would have suggested), they will launch their very own app store, or so they said (if you read Dutch, that is; how nice that we have a Dutch blogger amongst us who translated it for us).

This is not the only bit of news though: Vodafone also wants to tighten relationships with two other players in the market, and these are none other than giants China Mobile and Verizon Wireless. Now if you thought that Vodafone was large, take this in: together, these 3 carriers combine 821 million (!) subscribers (Vodafone 280m, China Mobile 457m and Verizon Wireless 84m [although I believe that VF counts a number of VZW subscribers proportionate to its shareholding in]).
Here’s what Vodafone’s CEO Vittorio Colao told the FT:
“If you think of three players, China Mobile is very strong in China; it’s a big country. Vodafone is very strong in Europe, Africa, India. Verizon is very strong in the US.

“If these three companies could work more closely… in the management of customers, procurement and service creation, we could be unbeatable, quite frankly.”
And right he is…