Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Vodafone and DoCoMo extend partnership into M2M

Iain Morris
June 19, 2014

Mobile operators Vodafone and NTT DoCoMo have expanded their partner market agreement to include M2M services being developed for the global enterprise sector.

The UK and Japanese operators have been collaborating for a number of years, but the expansion of the agreement will allow them to ramp up their M2M activities in a variety of vertical markets.

“M2M is an important part of our overall strategy and its significance is growing by the day,” said Kaoru Kato, the president and chief executive of NTT DoCoMo (Tokyo, Japan). “We are proud to announce that we are expanding our strong existing partnership with Vodafone [Newbury, UK] to include M2M.”

Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao said the agreement would help both operators to develop their enterprises businesses by enabling customers to use M2M “in new and innovative ways”.

Both operators have taken a keen interest in M2M, seeing it as a way of offsetting the decline in revenues from traditional voice and messaging activities.

This week, Vodafone also announced a £115 million takeover of Italian telematics player Cobra Automotive Technologies (Varese, Italy) in a move aimed at strengthening its connected cars business.

NTT DoCoMo, meanwhile, last week revealed it had been chosen by electronic vehicles maker Tesla (Palo Alto, CA, USA) to provide connectivity services in cars being sold in Japan.

Vodafone now claims to support some 14 million M2M connections, up from three million four years ago.

However, the operator is keen to generate more revenue from providing value-added services besides pure connectivity.

The deal with NTT DoCoMo, which has been at the forefront of technology innovation, could support such a move, and each player may be able to tap into the supply chains and partner networks of the other in furthering its M2M ambitions.

Together, the two operators would also be able to offer customers a truly global network, which could interest companies looking for cross-regional M2M services.
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