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Vodafone moves beyond network provision

Operator snaps up companies specialising in CRM, managed services and corporate mobile access management

Vodafone has moved further towards its goal of growing beyond its mobile operator heritage by adding two companies to its enterprise portfolio.

On Monday, the mobile operator announced it had purchased consultancy and service provider Aspective, as well as the independent business telecoms provider Isis Telecommunications. Vodafone has also signed a strategic partnership with Fiberlink, which specialises in secure mobile working.

According to Kyle Whitehill, director of Vodafone UK's enterprise business unit, the operator is "focused on developing our capability in three core areas: applications, access and service".

"In the next three years Vodafone UK will become much more than a mobile network operator and will play a significant role as an integrator of seamless communications. Today's announcements are testament to our commitment to this strategy with the acquisition of skills and capabilities in all three of these core areas," Whitehill continued.

Aspective specialises in customer relationship management (CRM) and field sales automation services, which should help Vodafone extend its managed services consultancy offering, Whitehill told ZDNet UK on Monday. He added that the Aspective acquisition would also give Vodafone about 120 extra staff including "solutions salespeople".

The Isis purchase would help Vodafone "scale up a more rounded managed services proposition" and Fiberlink's software "allows IT departments to control which kind of access they're going to give [users] — a great way of large organisations controlling their costs", said Whitehill.

The terms of the Fiberlink deal give Vodafone exclusive rights to offer that service in the UK. A full market launch is expected in the first half of 2007.