LONDON -- Vodafone chief executive officer Vittorio Colao has affirmed the group's intention to broaden its offerings to include bundles of wireless, web, television, and phone service across Europe.
However, despite saying, "I'd like to provide pan-European unified services," he made no specific mention of the recent rumors of a bid for Germany's Kabel Deutschland, and kept those keeping a keen eye on the company in the dark after stating: "Some services can be rented, we don't have to own everything." Acquisitions would be made "not just because we can afford them," but only if they make sense to Vodafone's strategy.
Colao was speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where he said that the company was pleased with developments in Turkey and in India, but concerned about southern Europe amid its turbulent economy.
The Vodafone CEO has previously spoken of how its mobile users have become more savvy and are less likely to trigger additional costs by exceeding their tariffs, so there is an argument that instead of cutting prices to become more competitive with its rivals, a mooted move to a one-stop shop would enhance its prospects, especially in Europe, with Colao commenting, "It's obvious to any chief executive who works in the telecom business, Europe has a fantastic opportunity."
He also responded to questions regarding its U.S. joint-venture with Verizon Communications, saying that a partial sale of its stake in Verizon Wireless was not necessary to fund the necessary acquisitions to drive Vodafone's European push. Colao stated: "The two things are not totally linked. Of course, having... a very profitable, dividend-generating asset in Verizon helps," referring to Vodafone's ability to invest when it requires thanks to the company's healthy balance sheet.
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