Vodafone UK said it will open 150 new shops across the UK this year and create 1,400 jobs in the process, as part of plans to invest £1 billion (€1.2 billion/$1.6 billion) in the country in 2014.
The operator said around £100 million would be earmarked for the new shops over the next 12 months. Once the new retail outlets have been opened, Vodafone will operate more than 500 branded shops in the UK.
The company added that the total £1 billion capital investment programme for the UK is the largest in its history, and will cover investments in Vodafone UK's existing 2G and 3G networks as well as the ongoing rollout of its LTE network, launched in 2013.
The investments all come under the umbrella of Vodafone Group's £7 billion Project Spring investment programme, which was launched after Vodafone sold its 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless for $130 billion (€94.8 billion).
Vodafone is also using the funding to pursue its strategy of adding fixed-line services to its mobile offerings, and has just agreed to buy Spanish broadband provider Ono in a €7.2 billion ($9.8 billion) deal, subject to regulatory approval. Italy and Portugal are also now rumoured to be in the operator's sights, after it acquired Kabel Deutschland last year.
This year is certainly set to be an interesting period for the company, which also recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Vodafone brand. Racal Electronics announced the name of its "new portable and mobile public telecommunications service" at a media conference in London on March 24, 1984.
- see this Vodafone release
Vodafone CEO rules in cable buys in Portugal
Mallinson: Fixed-mobile convergence is back
Vodafone confirms Ono acquisition for €7.2B
Vodafone enters post-Verizon era at half its market value
Vodafone could have up to $40B to spend on M&A, says CEO