The B2B group of Vodafone has entered a partnership agreement with América Móvil to provide IoT operators with international roaming service for things.
The press release does disclose much detail on how Vodafone Business and América Móvil will combine their IoT platforms or share their expertise in IoT connectivity and services with each other, for example if this would involve the two platforms running the same applications or adopting the same protocols. Instead, the statement stays high-level, claiming the partnership between the two companies will “make it easier than ever for customers to connect devices globally.”
“With this agreement we further extend our IoT global footprint by partnering with one of Latin America’s strongest players,” said Vinod Kumar, CEO of Vodafone Business. “América Móvil´s coverage and expertise across Latin America will help us support our global customers in a part of the world where we have seen a surge in IoT adoption.”
“In América Móvil we believe in win-win partnerships that benefit our customers,” added Marco Quatorze, Director of Value Added Service at América Móvil. “We are excited about the partnership with Vodafone Business that provides our joint customers with the best user experience of two leading technology providers.”
Vodafone Business has been actively engaged in improving its IoT offers. The company claimed its IoT platform is connecting 89 million devices worldwide. However, even assuming all these connections on cellular-based, it would still be a small fraction of the global total of 1.0 billion Cellular IoT according to the latest (June 2019) Ericsson Mobility Report.
Therefore, the tie-up with América Móvil may indeed become a win-win partnership. Vodafone Business’ own research has shown that the Americas are the market, and transport and logistics the sectors that IoT has seen the fast growth. These are a natural fit for “roaming service” for things, which would enable tracking, monitoring, and optimising of routes for goods to continue even if the cargo has left the coverage of one operator, and in this case, moving from one continent to another.
For América Móvil, better known for its consumer service (the company says it is connecting 362 million access lines) but also becoming more active in serving business customers, the partnership with Vodafone Business will help it expand the footprint to Vodafone territories in Western and South Europe (in Europe, América Móvil operates in Austria and six Eastern European and Balkan countries). Additionally, it may also enable América Móvil to leverage Vodafone’s technology solutions.
At the beginning of the year, Vodafone Business announced a $550 million joint managed service deal with IBM that also covers 5G, AI, and other advanced technologies. Kone, the Finland-based lift company and existing Vodafone customer, has expressed interest in the IoT capability of that new “joint venture”.