Vodafone to expand amid criticism over network coverage

Vodafone has announced it will create 1400 new jobs in the UK. Credit: PA

Vodafone is doing exactly what we want more of our companies to do; invest money and recruit staff.

£100 million of Vodafone's money is going on opening 150 shops in locations all over the UK in an attempt to establish a more direct relationship with its 19 million customers and presumably reduce the amount of commission Vodafone hands over to third parties for signing up customers on their behalf.

The 1400 jobs that will be created as a result is clearly welcome news but I think that most interesting part of today's announcement is Vodafone's decision to spend £1 billion on its network.

The 150 shops will open over the next 12 months, increasing the total number of Vodafone's branded UK outlets to more than 500. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Vodafone says this is all about widening Vodafone's coverage and making it better than its rivals but I wonder if it's also a response to recent criticism.

The invention of smartphones and the explosion of tablet devices means we are demanding much more of the mobile phone network.

We're no longer only using it to make calls and send texts, we're increasingly keen to stream music and watch video.

A collection of vodafone products Credit: PA

Last month Rootmetrics ran a series of tests over a six month period and decided that Vodafone's coverage was the worst of the big operators.

This morning Vodafone's new UK chief executive, Jeroen Hoencamp, told me Vodafone's network is "on a par" with its rivals and that Rootmetrics' testing methodology was flawed.

He was clear that Vodafone's network can cope with the amount of data its customers are requesting.

Vodafone's new UK chief executive Jeroen Hoencamp Credit: ITV News

Mr Hoencamp was not keen to get involved in the debate over Scottish independence.

In February, the boss of EE told ITV News he would "prefer" Scotland to remain in the UK. Mr Hoencamp felt it right to keep his personal views to himself.

"The nice thing about democracy is that this is an issue for the Scottish people to decided...my company will remain committed to Scotland, whatever the result" he told me.