Vodafone gains Asia partners with Conexus deal

Melissa Chua
21 Sep 2011
Daily News

Vodafone is pushing to extend its presence in Asia via a broad ranging partnership with members of the Conexus Mobile Alliance.

The mobile giant announced that it will begin collaborating with Conexus members on roaming, enterprise services and devices starting in December. Vodafone and Conexus members will also share best practices on various operator services.

Speaking at the launch event, Conexus Alliance chairman Andrew Kwok said the combined global mobile customer base resulting from the tie-up will stand at some 600 million across over 70 markets.

The deal marks a significant change in Vodafone’s strategy for the region, as the company intends to end its existing network partner agreements in the region with non-Conexus operator members.

Singapore’s M1 and Hong Kong’s SmarTone had earlier this week announced their respective agreements with Vodafone would not be renewed. Operators including Japan’s Softbank, Taiwan’s Chunghwa and Thailand’s DTAC will also be severing ties with Vodafone.

Paul Gerhard Itjeshorst, acting CEO of Vodafone’s partner markets business, said the group agreement was more conducive to expansion than the previous model of signing individual partners in single markets.

Vodafone also gains operator partners in markets where it previously lacked one, such as SMART in the Philippines. Itjeshorst said Vodafone was looking to enter into partner market agreements with as many Conexus members as possible, but the company was adopting a progressive phased approach because new contracts in countries where Vodafone already had an existing partner agreement could only start upon expiration of the existing agreement.

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