Vodafone Group plc (VOD - Analyst Report) is reportedly working toward generating employment in the U.K. with its plan to open additional 150 shops and create 1,400 jobs in the country. While the news is likely to bear a positive impact on the U.K. economy, it also points to the company’s efforts of strengthening its market position in the home ground and making strategic investments in European markets.
According to the company, the expansion is in sync with this year’s plan to invest £1 billion ($1.66 billion) in the U.K., where it has 19 million customers. The opening of new shops will bring Vodafone’s total retail outlet count to over 500. The company currently serves as the third large telecom operator in the country preceded by Orange (ORAN - Analyst Report) and Deutsche Telekom joint venture EE and Telefonica’s (TEF - Analyst Report) O2.
Apart from the U.K., Vodafone remains focused on expanding its business across other European countries. In Sep 2013, the company acquired a 76.48% stake in Kabel Deutschland for €7.7 billion ($10.21 billion). In the same month, the company also announced plans to buy Verizon's (VZ - Analyst Report) stakes in Vodafone Italia, which is around (23.14%), for $3.5 billion.
Moreover, the company struck a wholesale agreement with Deutsche Telecom for offering high-speed fixed-line broadband and Internet protocol-based TV services across Germany.
In Spain, the company is gaining from its tie-in with Orange and has also entered into a vertical access agreement with Telefonica for accessing the fiber optic network. In Greece, Vodafone entered into an active 2G and 3G network sharing agreement covering rural and urban areas. In Portugal, the company has started the extension of its fiber-to-the-home program, targeting to double the number of homes covered to approximately 1 million.
Vodafone currently has a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).
Better-ranked stocks in this sector include SK Telecom Co. Ltd. (SKM - Analyst Report), which has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).