Right hand / Left hand?

I have a habit of trying to understand what makes businesses tick. I try to understand where their motivations lie and based on that where they are and even more interesting, are not going. One of the market sectors I have tremendous interest in, but that makes absolutely no sense is mobile telephony.Its been a 16 years since I set eyes on a web browser for the first time. The moment I saw it, I knew it would be huge. Of course it has… and even though all the technology that enables it is widely available – I still have such limited access to this in my pocket. This frustrates me as a consumer and an entrepreneur.Today, I read yet another article in the financial section of the Times that makes we wonder if Vodafone’s right hand is talking to their left. Once again, shareholders are complaining about Vodafone’s debt load and other balance sheet issues. Not that I will ever claim to be able to read a balance sheet – but I presume that this debt load comes from two areas (1) acquisitions, and (2) frequency license fees.The riskiest of these are definitely the 3G frequency licenses. Last year, I read a report that said Vodafone had spent $18B on 3G frequency licenses worldwide! I seriously doubt the interest for these is even being paid based on the absolutely lethargic growth of this business, primarily caused by high fees or perceived high fees caused by a lack of visibility to the charges. Universally, people don’t want to do things like send photographs they have taken with their phone to friends because its either expensive or they have no idea how expensive until their bill arrives. This is ridiculous. Why doesn’t Vodafone address this more aggressively? Demand for online services worldwide are booming, and yet Vodafone doesn’t think this applies to people on the move?If I were a Vodafone investor, this is what I’d focus on.

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