UK-based multinational mobile group Vodafone has announced plans to invest USD3 billion in its operations in India in 2014 and 2015, with the spend being focussed on the expansion of its networks in rural areas. The proposed investment, announced by Vodafone’s chief executive Vittorio Colao in India on Wednesday, equates to around 15% of the group’s global investment over the period and will represent its biggest spending worldwide, the Business Standard reports. The planned outlay excludes any expenditure for buying spectrum in India.
Vodafone currently holds a 64.38% stake in its Indian operation and is looking to increase this to 100% once approval is given by the country’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). In addition, Colao said that Vodafone will look at listing the Indian unit once an ongoing USD2 billion tax dispute is settled and there is more clarity on charges for the use of wireless spectrum. The disagreement over outstanding taxes relates to Vodafone’s tax liability on the acquisition of Hutchison Whampoa’s stake in Vodafone India (then Hutchison Essar) in 2007.