Vodafone to invest £7bn in networks and services


‘Project Spring’ investment programme to take place over next two financial years, as operator announces it now has more than 200,000 4G customers in the UK 

Vodafone will invest around £7 billion in its networks and services by March 2016 as it looks to differentiate itself in major markets.

The ‘Project Spring’ investment programme will take place over the operator’s next two financial years, with £500 million invested before March 2014.

Vodafone said the transition to 4G and unified comms, coupled with the economic outlook for Europe, made it the right time to pursue further development and differentiation.

The announcement came as Vodafone announced its financial results for the six months to September 30, with Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao describing the current trading conditions in Europe as “very tough.”

On a Group basis, revenue was down 3.2 per cent year-on-year to £22 billion, while service revenue decreased 4.2 per cent to £20 billion.

EBITDA fell 4.1 per cent to £6.6 billion, with adjusted operating profit also falling, down 8.3 per cent to £5.7 billion.

Vodafone said it has now launched its 4G network in 14 global markets. In the UK, it now has more than 200,000 4G customers since launch on August 29. It has gone live in nine cities so far, with Bradford, Edinburgh and Leeds to follow before the end of the year.

It also now has 7.5 million customers on its Red tariffs globally, and is expecting to reach 11-12 million customers by the end of the financial year. In the UK, Vodafone has 1.8 million Red users.

Colao said: “Whilst trading conditions in Europe remain very tough at present, we are encouraged by the forecast return to economic growth over the next two years and the potential for a shift in regulatory focus to support greater industry investment and consolidation.

“Our Project Spring organic investment programme – now increased to £7 billion – will accelerate further our plans to establish stronger network and service differentiation for our customers.”

In the UK, Vodafone added 260,000 new customers in the three months to September 30, with just over half (132,000) made up of new contract customers.

The contract numbers compare to the 91,000 added in the previous quarter, with overall additions comparing to a net loss of 12,000 customers in Q1.