Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Racal Telecom

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1983 Racal Electronics competed for one of the original licences to operate a cellular network in the UK, both it and British Telecom were successful. Racal established the Racal Telecom (now Vodafone) subsidiary.

1984 The operating company was Racal-Vodafone Ltd[1]. A new public telephone service based on cellular technology was announced[2], run by Racal and Millicom[3]. The network would be operated by the AA and Racal, using L. M. Ericsson's Vodafone method[4]

1985 1st January: Racal introduced the Vodafone service[5]

1987 Racal Electronics acquired the 20 percent of Racal-Vodafone that it did not own[6]

1987 Various appointments were made to senior positions in Racal Communications Group, Racal Radio and Racal Telecommunications Group, which included Racal-Vodata and Racal-Vodafone[7]

1988 Racal-Vodafone Ltd was one of the telephone companies granted a variation in their licence in relation to chatlines[8]

1988 Vodafone was packaged together with other Racal companies to form Racal Telecommunications Group[9]; 20% of Racal Telecom was floated on the London Stock Exchange. This would lead to the situation where Racal Electronics was valued at less than its shareholding in Racal Telecom.

1990 Announced plans to demerge Racal-Telecom by transferring the shares to shareholders; the rest of Racal Electronics would be subject to a management buy-out led by Sir Ernest Harrison (Racal Chairman) which would remain a public company for an "appropriate time"[10]

1991 Demerged Racal Telecom in October. Racal Telecom was renamed Vodafone Group and later became the largest mobile network in the world and the highest valued company on the FTSE 100.

The remainder of Racal Telecom continued as a subsidiary of Racal Electronics as a network provider, especially of data networks for businesses.

1997 Racal indicated it would "position" Racal Telecom for flotation[11]

1998 Racal Telecom had a nationwide fibre-optic network; the company would make an alliance with Colt Telecom, which had a network in the City of London and some activities in Europe[12]

1999 As a result of poor financial position, flotation of the business was postponed[13]

1999 The company was acquired by the US telecommunications group Global Crossing. Racal Electronics kept the railway-related network businesses in a separate division and the Field workforce which provide maintenance and installation work[14]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, May 08, 1984
  2. The Times, May 22, 1984
  3. The Times, Oct 13, 1984
  4. The Times, Nov 21, 1984
  5. The Times, Dec 31, 1984
  6. The Times, December 30, 1986
  7. The Times, April 13, 1987
  8. The London Gazette 13 May 1988
  9. The Times (London, England), Friday, July 15, 1988
  10. The Times, November 17, 1990
  11. The Times, December 12, 1997
  12. The Times July 06, 1998
  13. The Times May 04, 1999
  14. The Times, October 12, 1999