Far from having any plans to change Vodacom’s name to match parent Vodafone, Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao revealed in Johannesburg on Wednesday that the global telecommunications group could, in fact, change its name to Vodacom.
“I kind of prefer ‘Vodacom’ to ‘Vodafone’,” Colao said at a press conference with local journalists. “Vodacom is more modern. Maybe one day we will consider calling the whole thing Vodacom, including Europe and the other countries.”
Vodacom first launched services in South Africa in 1994, with the UK’s Vodafone as a 35% shareholder with fixed-line operator Telkom holding 50% and investment firm VenFin 15%.
Vodafone Group — the second largest telecoms company in the world behind China Mobile — today has a controlling stake in the business after VenFin sold its shares and Telkom later exited the business, paving the way for its flotation on the JSE.
During the press conference, which covered issues as wide-ranging as over-the-top services, high international roaming charges, the net neutrality debate and fibre to the home, Colao reaffirmed Vodafone’s commitment to the South African market.
He told TechCentral that, despite talk of a plan by government to sell its 13,9% stake in Vodacom to fund energy utility Eskom, he has had no discussions with government leaders on the subject.
“We haven’t had any discussion on that topic,” he said. “We are happy with current situation — it’s a good mix of a long-term international partner, with South African money, with some government interest.”
He said, however, that Vodafone would be “open to discussions”.
“We are good partners of the local government. We will listen to their needs and requests, but I’m fine with the current mix. It has worked well.”
Colao said, too, that he was happy with Vodacom’s performance.
“I am here for a regular visit,” he said. “I always joke that when I show up in a country more than once a year, [it’s because] there are problems. I was last here exactly a year ago, which means there are no problems.” — © 2015 NewsCentral Media