%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%Mobile phone giant Vodafone stepped up its expansion in Europe today by unveiling a £6 billion deal to buy Spanish cable operator Ono.
The acquisition of Ono, which offers high-speed broadband and pay-TV to 1.9 million customers in 13 regions of Spain, builds on Vodafone's purchase of Kabel Deutschland for around £6.5 billion last summer.
Vodafone's latest swoop comes as it looks to spend some of the proceeds of its 130 billion US dollar (£78 billion) sale of its stake in US mobile phone operator Verizon Wireless.
Vodafone is growing strongly in emerging markets such as India, but its European business has been weighed down by economic conditions, competition, and regulator-imposed price changes.
And the sector's focus has been shifting towards ''quad play'', which involves providing bundles of phone, broadband, mobile and pay-TV services.
Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao said: "Demand for unified communications products and services has increased significantly over the last few years in Spain, and this transaction will accelerate our ability to offer best-in-class propositions in the Spanish market."
Ono has a current reach of 7.2 million homes - about 41% of all homes in Spain - providing its customers with broadband speeds in excess of 200 Mbps and a pay-TV service through TiVo.
Its network will complement Vodafone's fibre-to-the-home build programme, which will be refocused towards areas where Ono has limited or no network.
Vodafone shares were more than 1% higher following today's agreement.
ETX Capital market strategist Ishaq Siddiqi said: "Vodafone's southern European businesses were struggling at the tail end of 2012 and most of 2013 so this deal should help the group's operations in that area.
"Growing confidence in the Spanish market, with better economic fundamentals as the country moves out of crisis and on a path to growth, raises the investment outlook for Vodafone's Spanish business."
Strangest gadget stories revealed
Vodafone in £6bn Spanish cable deal
I was out shooting one day when my mobile phone rang. The gamekeeper confiscated it, threw it into the air and gave it both barrels of a 12 bore shotgun!
I was doing an aqua aerobics class, but left my phone in my pocket and didn’t discover it had been underwater for about half-an-hour. I decided that I would try and dry it in a sauna. Once dry I turned it on and it gave a couple of feeble flashes before dying completely.
My grandson thought it was not right for my phone to be left out on a cold day on the kitchen table instead of being put away in its cover, so he put it in the microwave to warm it up. He set the microwave on full power for an hour but it blew up long before that, along with my Samsung Galaxy.
I jumped into a swimming pool to escape a wasp, unfortunately with my mobile in my hand.
I was on holiday in Egypt and, after sunbathing for 20 minutes, I decided to go for a swim in the ocean, forgetting I had put my mobile phone in my cleavage for safekeeping. I didn’t notice until I’d been in the sea for 10 minutes, and by that time my phone had stopped working.
I went shopping for a frozen turkey and as I leaned in to try and lug a very large bird from the supermarket freezer my phone fell out of my pocket and into the bottom of the freezer. I could not reach it and had to go and seek help from a sales assistant who was taller than me. When we returned to the freezer, my phone had gone!
I once left my mobile on an armchair. When I returned my mother’s dog had decided that he liked the taste and had eaten nearly all of it.
I couldn't find my phone indoors anywhere. I went into the garden later on to find that my dog had put it in the birdbath.
My little brother took my mobile phone and destroyed it with a hammer.
My nephew put my tablet in the washing up bowl because he said it was dirty.
My four-year-old son purposely dropped my phone into a fish tank because he wanted me to buy a new BlackBerry.
I dunked my phone in my tea because I got distracted and thought it was a biscuit.
I’d had my new phone for just six days, and went to Tottenham play at White Hart Lane. Gareth Bale scored and I jumped up to celebrate whilst grabbing my phone to text my wife, dropped it and smashed the screen.
I left my Nokia phone on the living room table and went off to the kitchen to make a cuppa. When I returned my eight-month-old dog Scooby was looking a bit sheepish. About an hour later I found my mobile in Scooby's water bowl.
I was decorating our living room and had my phone in my breast pocket. As I leant over to dip a brush in a five-litre pot of paint the phone fell out and into the bottom of it.