Vodafone ready to target Italy for 'Project Spring' spend: report

Fri Sep 6, 2013 3:18am EDT
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MILAN (Reuters) - Vodafone (VOD.L: Quote) is ready to direct a large part of its "Project Spring" investment spend on Italy, Chief Executive Vittorio Colao said in a newspaper interview published on Friday.

Colao was quoted as telling Il Corriere della Sera that Italy becomes Vodafone's second largest market in Europe following this week's $130 billion deal to sell out of U.S. joint venture Verizon Wireless, which includes Vodafone acquiring Verizon's (VZ.N: Quote) 23 percent stake in Vodafone Italy.

Under its "Project Spring" plan which follows the Verizon sale, the British company intends to raise its capital spending by an additional 6 billion pounds over three financial years to improve network quality for customers in Europe and emerging markets.

"Italy will have a big part of our Project Spring, to speed up 4G and develop more fiber, ours or in collaboration with Telecom Italia (TLIT.MI: Quote) at sustainable prices," Colao told the newspaper.

"Otherwise we are already equipped and are ready to invest," he said.

Project Spring is seen putting debt-laden telecoms players like Spain's Telefonica (TEF.MC: Quote) and Telecom Italia under pressure to match Vodafone's step-up in spending.


With cash from the Verizon sale swelling its coffers, Vodafone looks set to shake up Europe's telecoms sector.

"Consolidation is inevitable," Colao said when asked if just a few players would remain standing.   Continued...

A woman talks on her mobile phone as she walks past a Vodafone store in London September 2, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth