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Tickers in this Article: FTE, LBTYA, CHL, VOD
Vodafone Hutchison Australia, a unit of Vodafone Group Plc (VOD) recently announced the commercial launch of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in Australia. The company has currently deployed LTE services in key metropolitan cities, namely, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth and Sydney. Given the growing market for hi-speed data services, we believe this new venture would bring financial benefits to the company. In addition, 4G LTE services will also generate significant market traction.

Apart from Australia, Vodafone is accelerating its 4G expansion in many other countires like South Africa and other European markets like Germany, Rome and Milan in Italy. The company has over 400,000 LTE customers. Ongoing efforts to upgrade the existing network infrastructure should result in higher network efficiency and increased mobile data capacity. The company is also working on spectrum acquisitions and secured spectrum licensing in the Netherlands, Ireland and India. The company also won the U.K. 4G spectrum auction in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz ranges.

Vodafone group, the second largest telecom carrier following China Mobile Limited (CHL) is continuously gaining share in the majority of its markets on strong adoption of data services and migration to smartphones. The company’s future growth hinges on key drivers like increasing mobile data services, growth in enterprise markets through converged fixed and mobile services (Vodafone One Net). Further, new pricing plans such as Vodafone Red, growth in emerging markets, growth in machine-to-machine, near-field communications and mobile financial services, as well as maintaining liquid investment in quality networks would also be accretive.

Further, we believe the re-structuring of enterprise business into one unit, Vodafone Group Enterprise and integration of Cable & Wireless Worldwide will enhance its product portfolio and tap opportunities in large and medium-sized businesses. Consistent with the company’s plan to expand its Enterprise segment, in Feb 2013, Vodafone inked a multi-year contract with BAE Systems plc, which deals in defense, aerospace and security business to supply mobile communication worldwide. The agreement remains accretive to the company’s global enterprise customers while promoting its security products and services.

Vodafone operates with the likes of Liberty Global Inc. (LBTYA) and France Telecom (FTE) and carriers a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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