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Case Title:

Vodafone (A): Sarin Gets Stumped!

Publication Year : 2008

Authors: Sai Prasanna, Rajendar Singh Rathore

Industry: Telecommunications


Case Code: GGL0040

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Available

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Vodafone, one of the leading wireless companies was lurching in losses – biggest ever in the European corporate history – owing to its legacy of expensive buyouts, ill-timed exits and its own strategic flaws. At a time when rivals were moving towards convergence of Information, Communications and Technology, Vodafone’s mobile-only approach was a spectacular failure. Aggressive expansions amid growing market saturation, struggling unit and failure to make a mark in the US, brought Vodafone’s growth engine to a halt. Amid such situations of crisis, Arun Sarin succeeded Christopher Gent. Given the scenario, is the shine wearing off for Vodafone? What challenges do Sarin face? Can he revive the company back to its glory days? Where should Vodafone look for growth now?

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To discuss the intricacies of intensifying competition in the telecom industry and ways to gain competitive edge over others
  • To discuss the role of mergers and acquisitions as an important strategy for aggressive growth plans, particularly in the case of international expansions
  • To discuss the success story of Vodafone in the global telecom industry and identify the factors that has stalled its growth in its major European markets
  • To examine the leadership traits of Gent and Sarin during situations of crisis as well as growth opportunities
  • To identify the various challenges faced by Sarin in carving out a successful growth path for Vodafone
  • To suggest different options for Vodafone’s sustainable growth in matured markets.


  • European Telecommunications Industry – A Global Perspective
  • Vodafone's Success Story
  • Challenging Times for Vodafone
  • New CEO, Arun Sarin's Revival Strategies

Keywords : Telecom; Convergence; Europe; Consolidation; 1G; 2G; 3G; GSM and CDMA; Value Chain; Market Penetration; Competitive Advantage; Expansions; Managing in Troubled Times Case Studies; Acquisitions; MVNO; Takeover; Leadership; Arun Sarin

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