Lisbon, 17 October 2007 Tomorrow, 18 October, is the 15th anniversary of the date when Telecel (as it then was) started offering mobile communications services in Portugal. It was one of the first GSM networks in the world and the first to operate on a truly national scale in Portugal.
Since then, constant innovation and launches of new technologies have radically changed the telecommunications sector, the country and, to a large extent, peoples quality of life and the productivity of companies.
Over 15 years, the company has been at the forefront of technological innovation and the satisfaction of customers and the general publics needs, in particular by being the first Portuguese company to provide a Customer Care Service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A relationship of excellence with customers continues today to be one of the main differentiating factors on which the company bases its business and strategy.
The companys great dynamism and pioneering ethos have undoubtedly made their mark on the sector. In 1994 the company launched the Telecel Service Box, materializing for the first time the cellular service concept, and in 1996 the first major segmentation of the market occurred with the launch of the family of Vitamina prepaid products. Access to mobile technology, up to then practically restricted to the business community, began to be democratised.
In 1999, Telecel launched Internet access from mobile phones for the first time in Portugal, using WAP technology. It was also one of the first European operators to test the GPRS system and to launch this cellular technology, in 2000.
In 2001, Telecel was the first operator in the Group to migrate to the Vodafone brand, and can take pride in having launched, within such a short period, two of the most recognised and prestigious brands in Portugal.
In 2002, Vodafone introduced the MMS service and in 2003 launched live TV on mobile phones and video messaging, all pioneering launches by the company. Also in 2002, Vodafone launched Vodafone live!, a revolutionary offer in the mobile data area.
Vodafone was also the first operator to offer Third Generation (3G) services to the Portuguese with the launch in February 2004 of the Vodafone 3G/GPRS Mobile Connect Card. Two months later, it was the first operator in Portugal and one of the first in the world to provide roaming access to 3G services. A year later it launched the 3G WiFi Router, the first broadband service for mobile teams on the Portuguese market.
Vodafone has also differentiated itself with its prices by offering its customers the most transparent and competitive price plans in the market. In terms of roaming calls, for example, Vodafone has passed on to customers the advantage of being a global operator by giving them the opportunity to make roaming calls at the same rate as their price plan for national calls, plus a fixed charge per call (Vodafone Travel).
Vodafone was also the first Portuguese operator to offer 3G Broadband services, also known as 3.5G or HSDPA, with the launch in 2006 of the Vodafone 3G Broadband Mobile Connect Card and later with the introduction of the first 3G Broadband phone.
In October 2006, it launched Vodafone Casa, a differentiated and very competitive voice and data telecommunications offer designed to replace the traditional fixed home phone and including Internet access solutions.
In 2007, Vodafone has launched a wide range of pioneering services in Portugal, including the new 3G Broadband card in Express Card format, the new TeleMultibanco service that reproduces the experience of ATMs on mobile phones, and the innovative Vodafone My Mail, Vodafone web phone, Vodafone Backup and Vodafone Messenger services resulting from the companys investment in Mobile-PC convergence.
It was also this year that Vodafone expanded its offer to include ADSL Fixed Broadband services. This important strategic development is intended to turn the company into a global communications operator capable of responding more comprehensively to its customers communications needs, whether mobile or fixed.
In these fifteen years, Vodafone has pioneered the introduction in Portugal of the main mobile communications technologies (EFR, Dual Band, WAP, 2.5G/GPRS, HSCSD, MMS, 3G/UMTS and 3.5G/HSDPA), as well as having developed and made available innumerable highly innovative technical solutions and facilities to meet the needs of customers and the general public.
From the first truly portable mobile phone, a massive affair weighing 420 grams, to the more compact and more technologically sophisticated models, Vodafone is the operator that has launched the most brands and models in Portugal, constantly seeking to offer its customers the best services and phones that the mobile sector has to offer.
With revenues in excess of 1.4 billion euros and around 5 million customers who daily rely on it for their communication needs, Vodafone is today one of the biggest and best Portuguese companies. Vodafone intends to maintain its differentiation as the most innovative and most customer-focused operator in Portugal, offering the most competitive services and investing in mobile-PC-Internet convergence. As it has done in the mobile market, Vodafone intends, as a global telecommunications operator, to maintain its position as the leading driver of the Portuguese market, contributing significantly to the development of the Information and Knowledge Society and to improving the quality of life of the Portuguese.