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June 4, 2014

Vodafone ditches Silicon Valley for rainy, brainy London

Operator looks to benefit from “wealth of talent” in UK and Europe.

By Vinod

Vodafone has announced it will be setting up a new research facility in London as the company shifts its focus towards Europe, India, and Africa.

The Vodafone xone hub will move to the company’s Paddington offices from its existing base in Silicon Valley, and will be responsible for supporting and developing between 10 and 20 start-ups working on new and emerging technologies to support the company’s existing products and services.

The five-strong Silicon Valley team will now be moving to London to expand Vodafone xone, which the company is hoping to grow to around 20 employees as it looks to "benefit from a wealth of technology skills and talent" in the UK and Europe.

This team will be made up of engineers, technical architects and designers, who will build and test device prototypes, develop new apps and services and accelerate time to market.

The operation will be headed up by Pratapa Bernard, who formerly led Vodafone’s consumer services business in emerging markets.

The London base joins existing European Vodafone xone hubs in Dusseldorf, Milan and Cairo, and signals the company’s renewed focus on non-US markets following its sale of 45% of US operator Verizon last year, which saw it leave the American operator market.

The company’s venture capital investment arm, Vodafone Ventures, will remain in Silicon Valley and continue to work with early-stage technology start-ups in the US.

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Vodafone Global Enterprises, which provides mobile services to American companies, will also stay at the company’s base in Redwood, California.

"Establishing a new hub for Vodafone xone in London will bring our product development team closer to the customers it serves," said Stefano Parisse, Vodafone’s consumer services director.

"It will allow us to draw on a vast pool of technology talent in the UK and Europe and simplify our development process, enabling us to get the very latest technology into the hands of our customers as quickly as possible."

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