Vodafone is the second largest mobile operating group in the world in terms of proportionate subscriptions, according to global analyst firm, Ovum. The finding was revealed in its World Cellular Investors 2Q15 study.
China Mobile ranked in first place, while India’s Bharti Airtel came in third, marking the three largest mobile operating groups in the world in terms of proportionate subscriptions. Vodafone has maintained its position as the second largest global investor over the last five years, with its main investments in Africa and Europe.
Ovum Middle East and Africa telecoms senior analyst, Mai Barakat, said based on the rankings in late 2014, Bharti Airtel overtook China Unicom in terms of proportionate subscriptions to become the third-ranked global operator, behind Vodafone in second place, and China Mobile in the top spot.
“As China Mobile, with 633 million proportionate subscriptions at end-1Q15, and China Unicom, with 299 million, only operate in China, Vodafone and Bharti Airtel are the largest and second largest international mobile operating groups in the world, respectively, because they both operate in multiple markets.
“At end-1Q15, Vodafone had 408 million proportionate subscriptions and Bharti Airtel had 314 million,” Barakat said.
Barakat added that Bharti Airtel has successfully moved itself up from being sixth in the rankings of the top 10 global investors in 2010 to third by end-1Q15 through its focus on investing in emerging markets which it believes have the potential to develop its brand and see strong growth.
Ovum’s research also showed that mergers and acquisitions in the global telecoms market has fallen drastically in recent years, from a high of 67 transactions in 2007 to 21 transactions in 2014. Narakat claimed this is because the sector has become more competitive and mature, leaving investors with less cash and incentive to make acquisitions.
“Many operators have also been spending heavily on next-generation fixed-line and 4G networks, leaving less money for acquisitions,” Barakat concluded.