SPAIN’S largest cable operator Ono has been bought by the British telecommunications company Vodafone, the world’s second largest mobile carrier, for €7.2 billion.
The deal will allow Vodafone to offer a combination of mobile and fixed-line telephone networks, pay TV and broadband services to Ono’s 1.9 million customers across Spain.
Vodafone plans to invest up to €30 billion into its European networks, and expects to add cable service to their current wireless services.
Vittorio Colao, chief executive of Vodafone, wants to expand the company to allow customers access to data and content across landline and wireless technologies.
“We are clearly interested in broadband in Spain; we are clearly interested in offering our own solutions,” he told reporters in Barcelona last month.
Private equity-owned Ono’s network currently covers 70% of Spain, mostly in more rural parts of the country, adding to the cable network Vodafone has begun building with Orange in major Spanish cities.
Built later than other cable and telecommunication companies, Ono’s broadband network can achieve speeds of up to 200 megabits per second, up to 20 times the average of rival networks.
Before the deal, Ono’s private equity owners had planned to float the company on the Madrid stock exchange.
Jose Maria Castellano Rios, the chairman of Ono’s board of directors, said the deal is a very positive move for Spain, and that it would ‘drive innovation in the Spanish telecommunications industry’.
Orange of France has also increased its attempts to enter the Spanish market, with possible targets including Jazztel and TeliaSonera.
The deal will put Vodafone in a better position to compete with rivals in the Spanish market, Telefonica and Orange.