Vodafone’s Irish mobile business is to invest GBP30 million (USD47.8 million) in its network infrastructure following the sale of the Group’s US operation Verizon Wireless, The Irish Examiner reports. The investment forms part of a wider GBP7 billion programme designed to shore up the British giant’s services after a record fall in growth. According to Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao, the Group sees a return to growth in the wider European region ‘during the next three to five years’, and the CAPEX plan is designed to reflect that. ‘We prefer to have a stronger, more performing and more differentiated operation by then so that we can come out at a higher speed than everybody else,’ he said. Vodafone had previously committed to spend GBP6 billion under the remit of ‘Project Spring’, which includes plans to deploy 4G networks to ensure 90% coverage in its five main European markets, including Ireland, by 2017.
Vodafone Ireland closed out September with a total customer base of 2.4 million, of which 2.1 million were mobile customers – making it the market leader in that segment. However, the Group noted that globally speaking, organic service revenue (i.e. removing items such as handset sales, currency and acquisitions) dropped 4.9% in its fiscal second-quarter, due to the imposition of regulator-driven price cuts and intense competition in markets such as Italy, Spain, Germany, Turkey and the UK, while civil unrest in Egypt also hit the company. On a more positive note, Vodafone Ireland gained a net 27,300 new customers in the three-month period and increased its contract base by 10.6% when compared to the same period in 2012.