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Vodafone is a UK-based multinational telecommunications company. It provides a broad spectrum of services, including voice, messaging and data communications across mobile and fixed networks; roaming services; fixed broadband and TV services; cloud and hosting services, and unified communications services.
Targeted at both individual customers and enterprises, the business operates in over 30 countries and has strategic partnerships with local mobile networks in more than 50 markets. In total, the company serves about 400 million customers through 16,000 branded stores, distribution partners and third-party retailers. In 2018, Vodafone ranked 4th in the number of mobile customers among mobile operator groups globally.
Vodafone has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol VOD and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. The company also has a secondary listing on the Nasdaq exchange.
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Formed as a joint venture between Millicom and Racal Electronics Ltd during the early 1980s, Vodafone was granted a licence to develop a cellular network in the UK. The company was introduced under the auspices of Racal on January 1, 1985, when it made the first-ever mobile phone call in the country.
It enabled the world’s first international mobile roaming call in 1991 and introduced internet access on the move with Vodafone Live in 2002. Throughout its history, what was originally a small mobile operator in Newbury, Berkshire, UK, Vodafone has grown into one of the industry’s most recognisable brands worldwide.
Since its inception, Vodafone has pursued an assertive acquisition strategy, buying up dozens of different companies and diversifying its business portfolio into several market sectors. The company has acquired over 30 organisations, the most recent purchase being GrandCentrix GmbH on November 18, 2019.
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Majorly held by Racal Electronics, the company (then known as Racal Telecom) went public on the London Stock Exchange on October 26, 1988, offering only 20 per cent of its stock with ordinary shares valued at 170p each.
In 1991, under stock market pressure to realise full value for shareholders, Racal Telecom was demerged from Racal Electronics as Vodafone Group. On September 16, 1991, the opening Vodafone share value was 332p.
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