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Voda preps cheapo service - Sarin

'In no market will we be late with an offer of this kind'

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Vodafone is prepping a low cost service for the "five to fifteen per cent share of customers who do not want support", CEO Arun Sarin said yesterday.

"In no market will we be late with an offer of this kind," he told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, by way of Heise Online. Question is: will the mobile operator launch with a Vodafone Lite brand - or trawl for bottom feeders with a virtual mobile operator in tow? In the UK, T-Mobile and 02 have chosen to go the MVNO rout, hanging out with Virgin Mobile and Tesco Mobile, respectively.

Sarin also revealed that the company is designing a voice tariff structure that will be based on the location of the customer. He says this will "totally transform the current price structure paradigm", which probably means discounts when making local calls.

Vodafone anticipates 80 per cent of future growth will come organically and 20 per cent through acquisition. It is gunning for big gains in Eastern Europe especially, Sarin told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The company is in "advanced talks" to buy two mobile operators in eastern Europe for up to $4bn, The FT reports today. It wants buy out the 79 per cent it does not already own in Mobifon of Romania and also to buy Oskar Mobil, of the Czech Republic, both from TIW, a Montreal-based holding company. ®

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