Vodafone and France's second-largest operator, SFR, have extended a global alliance for a further four years and said their enterprise units also plan to work on new business opportunities in the fields of M2M, 3G and LTE roaming, and unified communications.
The two operators already collaborate under a "non-equity partner market agreement" on the provision of fixed and mobile services to multi-national customers in France, and roaming services for consumers travelling in--and from--the country, and have been working together since 2002. Vodafone will also continue to offer SFR a range of Vodafone Global Enterprise services for use by customers in France.
"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 Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao.
Vodafone sold its 44 per stake in SFR to Vivendi in 2011. The renewal of the agreement between the operators comes as SFR prepares for another change of ownership: it is being sold to Altice, which plans to merge the mobile and fixed operator with French cable operator Numericable to create a new converged powerhouse on the market.
For Vodafone, the new agreement is an important measure to secure its standing with SFR ahead of the merger with Numericable. The operator noted that France is an important enterprise market for Vodafone with a significant number of the group's multinational customers either headquartered, or having a satellite office, there.
SFR customers will have access to Vodafone's mobile and fixed networks covering nearly 30 countries as well as about 50 Vodafone Partner Markets networks worldwide.
Vodafone Global Enterprise provides services to operators such as SFR that require support for multi-national corporations (MNCs) beyond their footprints. Rival operators have set up competing alliances in the past, such as Freemove and Starmap.
Orange, Telecom Italia, Deutsche Telekom and TeliaSonera have joined together under Freemove and also work with Eircom, Cosmote, MegaFon, T-Mobile US, Turkcell and Bridge Alliance, which is its equivalent in Asia-Pacific.
The Starmap Mobile Alliance was closed down at the beginning of 2007.
- see this Vodafone release
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