The largest mobile telecommunications network in the world, Vodafone, was founded in 1984 as Racal Telecom Ltd, which was a subsidiary of Racal Electronics’ Plc. Racal was a British radar and electronics firm founded in 1950. It all started in 1982 when Racal Electronics Group, a subsidiary of Racal Strategic Ltd, won its bid for the private sector UK Cellular license. This enterprise, known as Racal Vodafone, was a joint venture between Racal, Millicom, and Hambros Technology Trust.
Racal Strategic Radio Ltd was later renamed as Racal Telecommunications Group Ltd in 1985. Vodafone made UK’s first mobile call a few minutes past midnight on January 1, 1985 from St. Katherine’s Dock to Newbury. In 1987 Vodafone was recognized as the largest mobile network of the world, the very same year Vodata is created as the ‘voice and data’ business to market Vodafone’s voice and mail service. In October 1988, the then known as Racal Telecommunications Ltd, floated 20% of its share capital in the market. On 16 September 1991 Racal Telecom was demerged from Racal Electronics Plc, to become an independent company as Vodafone Group Plc. The name Vodafone originates from “Voice Data Fone”, which reflects provisions of voice and data over mobile phones.
After Sir Gerald Whent’s retirement in January 1997, Sir Christopher Gent took over as the CEO. On 29th June 1999, after its merger with Air Touch Communications, Inc. the company changed its name to Vodafone Air touch, Plc but then again on 28 July 2000, reverted back to its original name after a joint approval by its share holders in its General meeting.
The story about the world’s largest telecommunication’s giant has been nothing short of phenomenal, with head quarters in United Kingdom, and interests in Europe and United States of America Vodafone Group, has marked an astonishing achievement in the cellular business, with its major acquisition strategies and takeovers. The Group’s subsidiaries operate under the brand name ‘Vodafone’. In the United States the Group’ associated undertaking work under the tag of Verizon wireless.
It became the biggest company on London Stock Exchange as on January 2000.In 2006 the number of its live customers using 3G reaches 10 million. Vodafone currently has operations in 25 countries and partnering networks in another 45 countries. At 31st December 2008, the Group had 89 million customers, excluding paging customers. The total market capitalization of the Company as on 31st December 2008 is approximately 74 billion pounds. The current CEO of Vodafone Group is Vittorio Colao.
Vodafone’s business unit is enabling the world’s leading multinational companies to develop and control their entire mobile communications networks.