- Vodafone Americas is seeing traction with U.S. companies with global voice and data connectivity requirements as well as global companies that need to communicate in the U.S.
- Ironically, the mobile-first operator is seeing opportunities to offer these MNCs value-added services such as IoT, UC, and cloud, without having or needing its own mobile footprint in the U.S.
Vodafone Americas offers MNCs in the U.S., Canada, and South America a unique value proposition that allows the operator to draw customers, even among large, well-known U.S.-headquartered enterprises, and service them globally. In the U.S., it operates out of offices in New York, Denver, and San Francisco. It also has an IoT Innovation Lab in San Francisco. For global companies that require U.S. coverage as part of their footprint, Vodafone has established a series of roaming capabilities. While it is not necessarily the lowest-cost provider of these connections, its extensive non-U.S. mobile footprint provides MNCs with the ability to contract with a single provider, which may bring not only deeper discounts but also the convenience factor of having a single company from which to buy connectivity, with visibility and support via consistent platforms. Vodafone Americas is successfully offering many of these approximately 500 companies IoT solutions as well as other strategic services such as cloud, cybersecurity, and unified communications, which also do not depend on the operator having its own U.S. footprint for mobile access. The operator also has some U.S. wireline assets, including 24 PoPs in ‘NFL cities,’ but remains reliant on operator partners for last-mile access.
For IoT, Vodafone Americas uses its own global SIM and works with several U.S. mobile providers. The objective of such arrangements is to provide global customers with the most extensive coverage options, including access in rural areas. IoT bids/wins can also heavily promote Vodafone’s overall ability to offer global connectivity outside of the USA to U.S. MNCs.
While COVID-19 is impacting long-term infrastructure transformation projects, Vodafone is seeing success in selling basic global IoT connectivity along with pre-packaged bundles that may include hardware, connectivity in multiple countries, and vertical solutions. Companies may also sign up for Vodafone’s procurement, staging, and kitting management program, Device Lifecycle Management (DLM), which has been very popular with Vodafone Global Enterprise customers. Vodafone has a strong portfolio of automotive telematics solutions which are already gaining some interest from U.S. auto OEMs. Healthcare, logistics, and manufacturing are other likely target verticals.
Vodafone is working with customers like Vital Command, a U.S.-based company in the remote building maintenance field. Vital Command uses wireless automation and Vodafone IoT services to offer a building monitoring solution that can help reduce the risk of damage by notifying service teams about in-building incidents in real time, so that essential worker trips only happen when they need to.
Fixed services include Vodafone’s fixed portfolio of Ethernet, MPLS, SD-WANs, broadband, and DSL. Cloud services are provided via an alliance with IBM, which also provides professional services. In addition, Vodafone Americas works with IoT integration company iot.nxt, which its Vodacom subsidiary acquired in 2019 in South Africa.
In 2021, Vodafone Americas hopes to grow its inbound connectivity deals with MNCs, but also will leverage iot.nxt to offer more end-to-end IoT solutions such as smart building management, as well as a set of solutions that have been developed to deal with the pandemic such as environmental monitoring, temperature monitoring, and social distancing and occupancy management solutions.
Vodafone Americas seeks to service the global needs of its customer base by offering global IoT solutions as well as diverse fixed and mobile global connectivity services to MNCs. Vodafone is also a strong partner for the U.S. operators, providing them access to the extensive Vodafone global footprint of fixed and mobile assets and services.
This cooperation with other operators doesn’t mean that U.S. mobile operators fail to see Vodafone Americas as a threat, especially as they are always seeking to do a larger part of their business in enterprise mobility and IoT deals with MNCs. At the same time, they are also facing increasing competition from T-Mobile in the B2B space, as the Sprint merger has brought the Uncarrier more spectrum resources for its mid-band 5G offerings, as well as a new IoT organization, along with a portfolio of fixed assets.