Vodafone beefs up investment plan

Vodafone beefs up investment plan

Vodafone topped up its investment plans by another £1bn today as it reaps the benefit from one of the biggest corporate deals in history.

The mobile phone giant previously pledged to spend £6 billion under Project Spring, with initiatives including the roll-out of its 4G network to ensure 90% coverage in its five main European markets by 2017.

But with the £84 billion sale of its share of Verizon Wireless under its belt, the company today announced investment will reach £7 billion by March 2016, as it looks to build a stronger network for customers.

Shareholders have already been told that the company will return £54 billion to them as a result of the Verizon deal in the United States.

The investment update came as the company highlighted the impact of difficult trading conditions in Europe, with its service revenues down by 4.9% on an underlying basis in the six months to September 30.

It has been squeezed by increasing price competition in its major European markets of Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, where service revenues decreased by 4.4%.

Adjusted operating profits for the group were 8.3% lower at £5.7 billion but Vodafone said it remained on track to meet its full-year forecasts.

Chief executive Vittorio Colao described trading conditions in Europe as “very tough” but said he was encouraged by signs of economic recovery and potential regulatory support for greater industry investment and consolidation.

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