Sunday, 18 November 2012

Vodafone Group Market Analysis

This report examines the current market position of Vodafone, which is currently ranked second on the FTSE 100, and has a market capitalization of 84,991 Million GBP. The report undertakes a SWOT analysis to examine the main strengths and weaknesses of Vodafone. This is followed by a Porter’s five forces analysis of the industry structure. The main conclusion of this report is that Vodafone needs to change rapidly to meet the needs of the customers, and meet the changing demands in the industry. These include the changing nature of the mobile communication, and the dynamics of the digital economy, which have led to the changes in the market. Vodafone must therefore change its strategy to deal with these changes in the market.

1 Introduction
Vodafone is one of the largest telecommunications operators in Europe and around the world and provides mobile voice and data communications to consumers and the businesses (Daruwala, 2011, Mc, 2012). Vodafone is currently ranked second on the FTSE 100, and has a market capitalization of 84,991 Million GBP (FTSE, 2012). Vodafone group has recorded revenue of 45,884 million GBP during the fiscal year ended March 2011, and has an increase of around 3.2 percent over fiscal year 2010. This report examines the strengths and weaknesses of Vodafone to discuss the ways in which the company can improve its competitive position in the industry. One of the key recommendations of this report is that Vodafone needs to work more actively in developing data communications to counter the business risk in a volatile European market, which will help the organization to grow in the short and medium term. Vodafone also needs to develop mobile applications and new digital media to remain competitive in this market.

2 Market Analysis
A detailed analysis of the telecommunications sector shows that it is highly competitive today, as the different companies and their brands are continuing to introduce new and robust products to their customers (FEER, 1999). A SWOT analysis has been carried out for the Vodafone, which has highlighted a number of strengths and weaknesses of the organization. One of the key strengths of Vodafone is that it has a robust brand image, which has been developed over time and has a highly extensive market reach (Browning, 2011). The organization has also been able to develop a deeper understanding of the needs of its customers, which has allowed it to grow phenomenally, and has enabled the organization to develop a customer loyalty which is highly important for it (Datamonitor, 2012). For example, the annual BrandX Top 100 valuable global brands have ranked Vodafone as second highest brand and it is a top brand in UK. Similarly, Brand Finance has ranked Vodafone as the fifth most valuable brand in the world (Datamonitor, 2012). However, the weakness of the organization has been its inability to capture the brand loyalty and market share in terms of new customers. Vodafone has not been able to capture the level of customers in the new digital environment, and therefore the market growth has not been as phenomenal in UK (Anwar, 2003) as some other brands such as ‘Three’. Another weakness of Vodafone is its inability to capture the Third Generation signal market, which could have been a significant catapult for the organization.

However, the same weaknesses of Vodafone also is one of the key opportunities for the company, the mobile data market is exploding, with the use of smart phones and other wireless enabled devices increasing phenomenally (Savitz, 2012, Uzama, 2009, Mishra et al., 2010, Nayak and Pai, 2012). The ability of Vodafone to provide services to these services is one of the best opportunities in Europe. However, outside Europe, many other countries have not introduced a high speed mobile data service, and these are also expected to be a significant opportunity for these companies. In such a case, Vodafone can potentially have significant growth avenues, which can led to significant profits for the organization (Mishra et al., 2010, Nayak and Pai, 2012). These opportunities also present a number of threats to Vodafone. In this regard, the most significant threat is the increased use of VOIP services, which challenges the traditional model of mobile phone companies due to lost revenue and customers. However, the mobile companies can continue to provide wirelesses services to customers, which they can then use to generate other forms of revenue. Another threat to Vodafone is the mature European market, which has become highly competitive with lower margins for profits and could potentially be an issue for the organization (Grocott, 2010, Jankovic, 2010).

A Porters five forces analysis of the mobile industry also shows a number of issues for Vodafone, which needs consideration. One of the key aspects of the five forces model is that it enables the examination of the various forces which are exerted on an organization within the industry. In this regard, the buying power of the buyer has certainly increased (Glajchen, 2006), as they are no longer constrained by the mobile service providers. The buyers can choose other providers and VOIP based services (Hass, 2006), which is a key concern for Vodafone. Another concern is the potential competition between the companies, which is increasing due to the maturing of the mobile phone market. A third issue for Vodafone is the power of the suppliers such as Apple, who are able to dictate their terms on the use of services (Glajchen, 2006), and therefore a significant threat to the business of Vodafone. The threat of new entrants and new substitute products is also ever increasing in the mobile communications markets (Hass, 2006), as new digital products and services are continuously evolving which limits the use of mobile phone services by the consumer (Jung and Ibanez, 2010, Te-Yuan et al., 2010). These include VOIP based services such as Skype and Facetime, which have meant that some services such as video calls from mobile operators have been completely made redundant (Chang et al., 2010, Bodhani, 2011, Shin, 2012).

3 Conclusions & Recommendations
A number of conclusions can be drawn based on the SWOT and Porter analysis of Vodafone conducted as part of this essay. One of the key aspects of the future of Vodafone depends on its ability to harness the data communication, which will be the future of the company. Increasingly, innovative applications and products are being used by customers to communicate at a lower cost, and the role of the traditional mobile phone calls is increasingly being marginalized. Vodafone needs to realize the potential of data communication, and use new and innovative strategies to ensure that it can stay ahead of the competition and deliver groundbreaking and new services to its customers. The future of mobile telephony may depend on 4G connections, and Vodafone needs to ensure that it is fully ready to deal with the new challenges which it will face in the changing landscape of mobile communications. New services such as mobile payment and online communities are also significant new avenues for future growth, however proper planning is needed to meet these needs of the customer.

References
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