In a deal announced this morning Vodafone and Hutchison will enter a 50:50 joint venture to be named VHA, marketing products and services under the Vodafone brand but retaining rights to the ‘3’ brand during and after a transition period.
Vodafone will receive a deferred payment of $500 million from VHA to balance the difference in value between the two businesses, as well as an annual brand licensing fee from VHA equivalent to 1% of service revenues.
The combination of the 2 companies will start with 63% population coverage on 3G services and 95% population coverage on 2G. The combined Vodafone/Hutchison entity will have a customer base of around 6 million users with combined total revenues of around $4 billion for the year ended 30 June 2008.
The move will present a serious challenge to second-placed Optus, which has stepped up in its fight against Telstra for 3G supremacy. While Optus and Vodafone had once shared a metro 3G network in the 2100MHz band, the companies parted ways to build independent 3G networks throughout last year.
“All of this still has to be passed by the regulatory authorities. Whether or not this will be a benefit or not, remains to be seen. But it will be the end user that will have less choice at the end of the day.”
(Courtesy; commsday.com )