Vodaphone reports fall in annual earnings
Mobile phone giant Vodafone has reported a "mixed" year after its annual earnings fell in the face of continued pressure on European revenues.
The group has been growing strongly in emerging markets such as India, but its European arm is still weighed down by economic conditions, competition and regulator-imposed price changes.
Earnings fell 7.4% to £12.8bn on an underlying basis in the year to March 31 and are set to decline again to between £11.4bn and £11.9bn this year as it focuses on a two-year investment programme.
The £19bn plan, called Project Spring, aims to accelerate improvements to its network, resulting in wider 4G coverage in Europe and 3G coverage in emerging markets.
It is being funded through Vodafone's $130bn (£78bn) sale of its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless to joint venture partner, Verizon.
One of the biggest transactions in corporate history, the move resulted in around £5bn in shares and cash being returned to shareholders.
The company has now launched 4G in all its major European markets, as well as South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
It said that customers use roughly twice as much data compared to 3G data usage, driven principally by video streaming.
Smartphone adoption continued to grow strongly with the increased availability of low-cost devices driving growth in data usage.