Which strategy to pursue?
I've been thinking for several months that Vodafone should try and acquire T-Mobile in the USA. However, I do not think it will be an easy acquisition. First of all as stated above by Charlie Clark would Telekom sell to a European rival? I think if Vodafone paid a large enough fee then Telekom would but there would probably have to be an asset swap.
Let me suggest this: Vodafone recently acquired Kabel Deutschland for €7.7 billion. Telkom could tell Vodafone we want ownership of Kabel Deutschland as part of the T-Mobile USA sale.
Vodafone if its playing the long game should agree to this. Vodafone acquiring T-Mobile USA would mean there could be no takeover by AT&T and therefore Vodafone would remain safe. Given the huge profitability in the U.S. mobile sector (see Verizon) and the Federal Government's decision to block M&A activity to keep four nationwide mobile network providers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile) there is regulatory encouragement for Sprint and T-Mobile to continue to grow and re-balance the mobile landscape from the dominance of Verizon and AT&T.
Vodafone can use its brand to become a truly global mobile network and establish itself in the USA.
This would allow Liberty Global to continue buying up European assets in the cable industry and then sometime within the next few years to next decade Liberty Global (a John Malone company) and Vodafone merge which makes complete sense given their various synergies. The sale of Kabel Deutschland to Telkom would mean there would be no regulatory issues in Germany from a Vodafone/Liberty being too dominant.
Vodafone would become far stronger in Europe and the U.S.A after these deals.
Then in the longer term once Vodafone becomes established in the USA Vodafone acquires Charter Communications (another John Malone cable company) which creates more synergies and quad play opportunities.
Will some of these deals happen - yes, most probably.
Will all of these deals happen - no but I believe they should and would be beneficial to all the companies involved.