The new division will be part of the Vodafone Group and will open early next year.
The move into healthcare comes a year after Vodafone Ventures Ltd, the corporate venture capital arm of Vodafone Group, has made an undisclosed investment in t+ Medical, which specialises in the use of mobile phone-based to transfer patient biometric data as part of mobile healthcare services. It is already a founding member of the Mobile Health Alliance.
Last month Marketing Week exclusively revealed that O2 believes its growth will come from expansion into several new areas including healthcare and education as well as developing its range of financial services products.
Orange already has extended its reach into healthcare with the launch of Orange Healthcare in 2007.
Vodafone says plans to diversify into this area have been ongoing for around a year now, and it wants to work closely with governments and pharmaceutical companies to provide healthcare services.
The operator’s new unit is made up of a team of around 10 people, and will be chaired by the company’s chief executive, Vittorio Colao.
It will focus on health care solutions and will work alongside other organisations, “which can help us to fully understand the needs of healthcare professionals”.
Coalo says: ‘I believe that mobile technology has a significant role to play in the provision of health care, primarily in the simplification of work flows, statistical analysis and record keeping and by giving professional healthcare providers the ability to support lifestyle choices for the chronically ill.’