Wireless users at large multinational corporations are among those who might benefit from Rogers Communications’ new partnership with U.S.-based Vodafone.
Under the pact, announced this morning, Rogers becomes Vodafone’s exclusive partner here. The carriers will offer customers a range of products and services, including 4G roaming services in their respective countries, ande explore new business opportunities.
Multinational customers of Vodafone Global Enterprise will benefit from the addition of Canada to their existing contracts for international managed services, the companies said in a release. For its part Rogers will be able to draw on Vodafone’s expertise in building and developing 4G mobile broadband networks, working with leading global equipment providers.
“We’re focused on significantly improving our customers’ experience and believe that the knowledge and resources we will get from this alliance will be a big benefit to our customers,” Rogers CEO Guy Laurence said in a statement. “We will draw on expertise and best practices from operators around the world to improve the products and services, like roaming and unified voice solutions, that we offer our consumer and business customers.”
“There’s a unique growth opportunity for our enterprise business through this agreement,” Patricia Trott, Rogers’ director pf public affairs said in a statement.”Today’s businesses expect their telecommunications provider to have a global presence and this agreement allows us to work with carriers around the world with the same global customer.
“Rogers will also have access to products and services that other carriers worldwide have launched – like hosted voice solutions – and will have the ability to potentially bring these to the Canadian market. In addition, we’ll be able to tap into global knowledge, intellectual property and expertise from Vodafone and carriers from around the world to deliver better experiences to business and consumer customers.”
Vodafone has a partner network of more than 30 telecom companies in nearly 50 countries.
In a note to investors Dvai Ghose, head of research at Canaccord Genuity, wrote that it isn’t clear from the announcement if Rogers and Vodafone are now exclusive roaming partners, if Rogers (TSX: RCI.B) has to pay Vodafone a fee for the roaming service and what kind of savings Rogers customers will see from the deal.
Rogers told Canaccord that the deal is aimed at growing its share of multinational customers by providing global wireless solutions with Vodafone.
The country’s biggest wireless carrier, Rogers is in a fight with Bell Mobility and Telus Corp. for customers. Ghose noted that Rogers blended average revenue per user (ARPU), a key industry metric, was down 3.4 per cent in the first quarter, while Bell’s was up 3.5 per cent and Telus’s up 2 per cent.
This is in part because Rogers is losing high ARPU postpaid customers, Ghose believes, but also because Rogers has lost significant international roaming revenue after Bell and Telus teamed to build a new HSPA network in 2009. Until then Rogers had a lock on non-U.S. international roaming because of its GSM/HSPA network. Recently, however, international roaming fees have dropped.