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Mobile Operators Woo Multinationals

8:40 AM -- Some mobile operators' announcements about new multinational customers caught our eye here at Wireless Bits yesterday.

  • Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD)'s Global Enterprise division announced a five-year deal to provide mobile voice and data services to Deutsche Post DHL across 15 countries in the Asia/Pacific region.

  • Telefónica Europe plc (O2) said yesterday it won a four-year contract to provide mobile communications and data cards to a pharmaceutical service provider Celesio across 14 European countries.

  • And Orange Business Services announced a partnership with Sybase Inc. to deliver mobile device management as a managed service. The device management service will be hosted by Orange.

Enterprise mobility, or managed mobility services, is an area where large multinational companies have been demanding of their mobile service providers and where mobile operators have struggled to meet those demands. Essentially, multinationals' challenge to mobile operators can be summed up as, "Take away our problem and save us money," according to Pauline Trotter, principal analyst in the enterprise practice at Ovum Ltd.

Multinationals want everything to be centralized across different countries --service contracts, device and smartphone management, application delivery to devices, and billing, for starters. "This has been very slow to do because it's very difficult to do," says Trotter.

But now, Trotter says that things are "hotting up."

So, watch this space.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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