Belfast Telegraph

Brexit would mean 'missed opportunity' for UK in 'growing digital single market'

The boss of Vodafone has warned that Britain faces a "great missed opportunity" if it votes to leave the European Union on Thursday.

The telecommunications giant has already come out for the Remain campaign but chief executive Vittorio Colao has used his first interview on the subject to urge the UK to stay part of the growing "digital single market".

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "We think the digital single market is the next big opportunity for the economy in Europe in general and for Britain in particular.

"The previous incarnation of the digital market was great for manufacturing if you think about the advantage that this has given to countries like Germany or even Italy.

"Now the new one, the new thing, is coming - it's the digital single market for digital goods, digital services, and Britain is particularly strong economically in that area.

"From our point of view it would be a missed opportunity, a great missed opportunity, if Britain was trying to sit outside of it and not shaping it from inside."

Mr Colao also suggested that Vodafone could move its headquarters away from the UK if a Brexit vote resulted in restrictions on freedom of movement.

He said: "If Brexit comes with restrictions of free movement of people or free movement of capital then of course we should reconsider our position, but for the time being we hope that that will not happen and if it happens then it happens without changes to those two important things."

He also rejected the suggestion that his intervention in the final days of the referendum campaign was due to his company's vested interest in the result.

He said: "I wouldn't agree. I would say that our customers want roaming, want the elimination of borders, want to be able to be freely part of a single territory."