AT&T and Verizon, the two leading U.S. wireless carriers by subscribers and revenue, have reportedly joined forces in a massive bid to acquire London-headquartered Vodafone, a multinational telco which operates networks in over 30 countries and has partner networks in over 40 additional countries. The transaction would easily dwarf the monumental AOL/Time Warner merger as Vodafone already is a huge corporation: it’s the world’s second-largest wireless carrier after China Mobile and commands 403 million subscribers worldwide.
This compares to AT&T’s 107 million subscribers, Verizon’s 116 million customers and China Mobile’s 703 million subscribers. What’s really interesting is Vodafone’s existing U.S. partnership with Verizon Wireless: the nation’s leading telco is actually a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone where the former holds 55 percent ownership and the latter controls the remaining 45 percent ownership of the joint venture.
As Europe has traditionally been Vodafone’s stronghold, the deal would give AT&T a long-rumored entree into the European market while Verizon would get to control its own destiny without oversight from Vodafone…