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Vodafone is about to create 1,400 new jobs in the UK

The jobs are part of the mobile phone operator's £1bn UK expansion plan. How will it spend the rest of the cash?

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 20 May 2014

Vodafone giveth, Vodafone taketh away. Right now, though, it mainly giveth: the company has announced plans to open 150 new stores in the UK that will create 1,400 jobs. That will bring its number of stores up to more than 500 - second only to the mobile phone Leviathan which is EE, which has 600 shops.

This is all part of the rather lovely-sounding Project Spring. No, not a plan to fill the nation’s streets with apple blossom or produce a live feed of lambs to mobile phone customers, but an idea that it will boost its reputation in Europe. It wants to spend £1bn of the $130bn it made from the sale of Verizon in the UK under Project Spring this year.

So what of the rumours it was considering an acquisition of Phones4U? Jeroen Hoencamp, the company’s chief executive, said there is ‘no plan with a significant business player in the market’.

‘We’re committed to putting our brand and our people right where customers want us,’ he added - which in this case is Notting Hill, Fulham, Walthamstow, Wembley, Ilford, Perry Barr and Bicester, where the first stores will open.

So a Phones4U deal may be off, but these store openings are only going to cost £100m, so you have to wonder where the other £900m is going to go. Vodafone has previously said that under Project Spring it wants to spent £6bn across the whole of Europe over the next three financial years. We can only imagine more deals like its €7.2bn acquisition of Spanish broadband Ono are in the offing.

Also, lest we forget, US telecoms group AT&T still has the opportunity to make a bid for Vodafone, albeit not until the end of June. So it’s all to play for.

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