Vodafone is to spend £7bn upgrading its networks, with an extra £300m committed to the UK, as it prepares for an end to the European economic crisis.
Hundreds of new masts and radios will be installed to boost coverage, with London benefiting from £150m of spend over the next two years, and a 30% increase in masts.
A further £150m will go to the rest of the UK, bringing to £1.2bn the sum Vodafone will spend on its British network over the coming three years.
The money is earmarked to improve 3G coverage and roll out faster 4G technology, and to expand Vodafone’s retail empire.
Investments in “Project Spring”, the network-improvement project announced in September, will expand to 7 billion pounds ($11.2 billion) by March 2016 — a year ahead of schedule and 1 billion pounds extra — Vodafone said today. Service revenue, excluding currency swings and acquisitions, fell 4.9 percent in the quarter ended Sept 30, missing analysts’ estimates for a 4.6 percent decline, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
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Vodafone has reported a half-year pre-tax profit of £1.5bn ($2.4bn) as it said trading in Europe remained “very tough at present”. Chief executive Vittorio Colao said he had seen “intense macroeconomic, regulatory and competitive pressures during the period” there. But he was “encouraged” by forecasts that Europe would return to growth. Mr Colao said the emerging markets businesses were doing well thanks to the smartphone.
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