The move may be essential for cutting costs, but it's bad news for the mobile giant's employees, many of whom may struggle to abide by the company's slogan: ‘make the most of now'. Of these jobs, around 170 are said to be going from back-office roles at Vodafone's HQ in Newbury, a town in which the company is such a prominent employer that its staff are known locally as Vodaclones.
The news goes against analyst expectations that telecoms would hold up well in the recession, and follows BT Group's announcement earlier in the month that it is planning further job cuts - on top of 9,500 shed since last April.
Vodafone may be the world's largest mobile company by sales, with 19m customers in the UK, but it has apparently been struggling with rising raw material prices and declining revenues, as customers cut back on calls and become slower to upgrade their phones. Chief exec Vittorio Colao warned in November that the telecoms giant planned to trim its annual operating costs by £1bn to £21bn by March 2011. And it's impossible to achieve those kinds of numbers without waving a big axe around.
From a shareholder perspective, however, things may be looking up. Vodafone's revenue in the final three months of last year was £10.47bn, up 14.3% on the same period a year ago, and it raised its forecast for full-year revenues after benefiting from the weaker pound, which has made its overseas sales more valuable. Still, scant consolation for those 500 workers who will now find themselves lying off the hook.
In today's bulletin:
Royal Mail row escalates as pension fund backs sale
Vodafone adds to gloom by shedding 500 UK jobs
Editor's blog: Trimble's University Challenge to UK economy
Honda engineers new CEO
Books Special: The Secrets of Success in Management, by Andrew Leigh