Written by Phin Upham
If you’re a fan of Manchester United (or almost any soccer team really) you might notice that they have been sponsored by a company called Vodafone. The British telecommunications company has headquarters in London, and it’s considered the world’s second largest mobile communications company in both subscriptions and revenue. The company trails just behind China Mobile, which currently holds top spot.
Vodafone service is active in over 65 countries, and includes more than just mobile phones. They have their own networks setup in 21 countries, with partners in an additional 40. They also provide IT and telecommunications services to a total of 65 countries all across the world.
Some of the services Vodafone currently provide include mobile money transfers, some new initiatives in mobile health technology, and a charity organization that helps victims of domestic violence and disease. For instance, Learning with Vodafone helps teachers in India reach students using rich-media graphs and data as teaching aids.
The company began life as a subsidiary of Racal Electronics plc, which was the UKs largest manufacturer of military-grade radio equipment. In 1979, Swedish media holder Jan Stenbeck had formed a company in the United States to try and sell radio technology there. He applied for licenses and started to form his business while Racal Electronics was working on deals with GE in Virginia.
Stenbeck urged the chairman of Racal Electronics to build a new service, and the two companies closed the deal in 1982. The company launched in earnest in 1985.