The telecommunications industry has witnessed a significant partnership as Vodafone officially recognizes e& as a major shareholder. Hatem Dowidar, the CEO of UAE-based operator e&, has been appointed to Vodafone’s board, while the two companies have entered a strategic partnership. This agreement also establishes e& as a ‘cornerstone investor’ in Vodafone. Suppose e& increases its stake beyond 20%. In that case, it will have the option to nominate another independent board candidate.

The announcement follows e& increasing its stake in Vodafone to 14.6%, indicating that strong ties have been established between the two telecommunications giants. Hatem Dowidar said in a statement, “Our investment in Vodafone is anchored by Vodafone Group’s established position and worldwide reputation as a prominent industry player that provides cutting-edge connectivity and digital services.” He also mentioned that the partnership aligns with e&’s vision of becoming a formidable global telecom and technology player.

In exchange for a seat in Vodafone’s board for Dowidar, e& has agreed to limit its holding in Vodafone to no more than 24.99%. This should dispel any rumors about e& planning a full takeover, considering that a mandatory takeover bid threshold in the UK is 30%.

Vodafone CEO Margherita Della Valle expressed her delight in strengthening their existing relationship through the strategic partnership. The alliance brings additional telecom experience to Vodafone’s board and presents an opportunity to capture both companies’ respective markets. The collaboration also serves as an endorsement of Della Valle, who was recently assigned her role on a permanent basis.

Under the new partnership, e& and Vodafone have agreed to cooperate in several areas. They will work together to become the partner of choice for high-quality connectivity in carrier, wholesale, and roaming. They will also share best practice in procurement and explore the possibility of joint procurement.

Both companies intend to collaborate on a technology roadmap that encompasses the evolution and adoption of Open RAN. Additionally, they plan to jointly offer cross-border services, such as fixed and mobile connectivity, private cellular networks, IoT, cybersecurity, and cloud services, to multinational corporations and public sector organizations.

This collaboration could strengthen e&’s enterprise activities in Europe, as it doesn’t operate networks there. Likewise, with little overlap in the Middle East and Africa, both Vodafone and e& could see growth opportunities in adjacent markets. Dowidar believes that the strategic relationship will unlock possibilities for both companies to explore the rapidly growing global telecom market and next-generation technologies.