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Telecom operators: Vodafone

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(CNN) -- Vodafone is the world's biggest mobile phone operator, with more than 100 million subscribers.

The London-based group, formerly known as Vodafone AirTouch, has a presence in 28 countries through its partners and affiliates.

Vodafone purchased U.S. wireless company AirTouch in 1999, later teaming up with Bell Atlantic and GTE to form Verizon Wireless, which is now the No. 1 wireless group in the United States.

Bell Atlantic bought GTE to form Verizon Communications, of which Vodafone has a 45 percent stake.

In 2000, Vodafone merged with German telecom group Mannesmann and was required by regulators to sell its stake in French-based mobile phone operator Orange (which was purchase by France Telecom).

Vodafone has more than 100,000 employees worldwide.

Web site: www.vodafone.com

Chief Executive Officer: Chris Gent




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