Commenting on Vodafone’s likely sale of its stake in Verizon, Victor Basta, managing director of Magister Advisors, M&A advisors to the technology industry, said:
“Vodafone looks set to successfully emerge from this strategic cocoon with a $130 billion butterfly. It is the culmination of a brilliant strategy of building up leading positions in key international markets, to the evident delight of shareholders.
The risk for Vodafone is that outside of that cocoon the predatory competitor set has changed beyond recognition. The trend for consumers to shop, play, interact, and most importantly spend via their devices has made it imperative for mobile operators to metamorphose from operators into service providers.
While Vodafone has been pursuing its current strategy, operators have become locked in a galactic fight with online brands such as Google, Facebook, and eBay for mindshare. For these online leaders, winning on the mobile device is not a luxury, it is essential to their own success. The mobile screen is now the main screen in most Western markets.
Consequently, other mobile operators, including Telefonica (Spain), SingTel (Singapore), and others have moved aggressively to develop mobile 'value added services' to sell to their subscriber base – and to other operators' subscribers. the areas of mobile security, mobile cloud services and mobile payments are all poised for significant growth over the next decade, while underlying subscriber growth is flat, or even down.
The biggest question for Vodafone today is “what’s next?” Vodafone's DNA, and indeed where it has created most value, has been in its role as a savvy operator across markets. This creates a risk that Vodafone will become the largest 'digital drug mule' in the world – carrying other vendors' valuable content for a fraction of the upside. Vodafone must evolve – and quickly.”