Vodafone Buy Would See Softbank Give Up Its Mobile License

When Vodafone said last week it was in talks with Softbank with a view to selling off its beleaguered Japanese unit, we wondered what the implications of the mobile license Softbank was awarded last year were. It appears today that if Softbank were to buy Vodafone Japan, it would return the license it won to the government. This is a curious turn, since it was widely expected that Softbank would use a newer technology that promised higher data speeds and better economics than Vodafone’s WCDMA network, while buying the existing operator would cost about twice as much as building a new network from scratch. Clearly Softbank sees untapped potential in Vodafone, something that current managment seems unable to unlock.

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