Enterprises look to one operator to provide both mobile, fixed-line services

Enterprises are increasingly looking for one carrier to provide both mobile and fixed-line telecommunication services--traditional services such as telephony and advanced services such as unified communications, observes John Delaney, associate vice president for mobility at IDC Research.

This demand is one factor in U.K. mobile operator Vodafone's decision to purchase Spanish fixed-line operator Ono for €7.2 billion ($10 billion). Vodafone said the acquisition is expected to "accelerate growth in its unified communications products and services by leveraging its extensive distribution and marketing capabilities and through cross-selling to each company's customer base."

Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao said that "demand for unified communications products and services has increased significantly over the last few years in Spain, and this transaction--together with our fibre-to-the-home build programme--will accelerate our ability to offer best-in-class propositions in the Spanish market."

As part of its strategy to acquire fixed-line assets, Vodafone paid €7.5 billion ($10.4 billion) to acquire Kabel Deutschland, a large fixed-line operator in Germany, last year. "It's about using Vodafone more and more outside mobile: we're going into hosting, into security, into protection, into entertainment," Colao said at a press briefing at the CeBIT conference held last week in Hanover, Germany.

IDC's Delaney explains that this enterprise demand "is being driven both by the shrinking differential between the price of fixed and mobile services and by the increasing sophistication and ease of integration offered by the new generation of UC&C (unified communication & collaboration) services."

Delaney adds, "Network development strategy is also pointing operators in the direction of combined fixed and mobile. Most of the more advanced operators, Vodafone included, are developing common IP core networks overlaid with IMS (IP multimedia subsystem), an access-agnostic service control layer. To realise the full potential of that combination, operators need to be able to offer access to services over a variety of technologies, both fixed and mobile."

For more:
- check out the IDC release
- see Vodafone's announcement
- read the Bloomberg CeBIT report

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