Vodafone, SFR to partner on M2M service development

Vodafone and SFR have unveiled plans to renew their strategic global alliance for another four years, indicating they plan to collaborate on M2M service development as well 3G and 4G roaming.

Vodafone (Newbury, UK) sold its 44% stake in SFR (Paris, France) – France’s second-biggest mobile operator, behind Orange (Paris, France) – to media conglomerate Vivendi (Paris, France) in 2011, but the two operators have been cooperating on international projects since as far back as 2002.

Although it has sold out of SFR, Vodafone says France remains an important enterprise market in which some of its biggest multinational customers are active.

Meanwhile, Vivendi has recently agreed to sell SFR to French cable operator Numericable (Paris, France) for the sum of €13.5 billion ($18.8 billion) plus a 20% stake in the combined entity.

In a statement, Vodafone and SFR said they would continue to provide fixed and mobile telecoms services to multinational customers in France as well as roaming services for consumers travelling in and from the country.

Under the new agreement, SFR Business Team and Vodafone Global Enterprise are to collaborate in the areas of M2M, 3G and 4G roaming and unified communications across France and the rest of the world.

Vodafone says it will also continue to offer SFR a range of Vodafone Global Enterprise services, including One Net – its converged communications product – for use by customers in France.

Vodafone’s particular expertise in the M2M space should be of particular value to SFR.

The UK operator has put M2M at the heart of its growth strategy and was ranked ahead of other service providers for its M2M capabilities in a recent independent study carried out by market-research firm Analysys Mason.

Although it does not yet break out M2M revenues, Vodafone said these grew by 30% in the three months to end December 2013, compared with the same period of 2012.

The tie-up between Vodafone and SFR will also give the French player access to Vodafone’s mobile and fixed networks in 30 countries and to approximately 50 of its “partner market” networks worldwide.

“Our agreement with SFR builds on a longstanding and successful collaboration that began more than eleven years ago, and I’m delighted that this will continue in future,” said Vittorio Colao, Vodafone’s chief executive.