Vodafone shop front

Vodafone has posted a half-year pre-tax profit of £1.5 billion ($2.4 billion), a far cry from the £3.9 billion it posted in 2012.

The global mobile operator admitted that trading in Europe remains "very tough" in the face of regulator-imposed price cuts and fierce competition in Italy, Spain, Germany, Turkey and the UK.

Hoping to reverse a dip in its European fortunes, Vodafone has announced that it would bring forward a planned £7 billion investment aimed at increasing the speed and capacity of its pan-European network. The programme is now expected to be completed a year ahead of the original schedule of March 2016.

Over an analysts call later in the day, Vittorio Colao, chief executive of Vodafone, also said he would “definitely consider” an IPO of the company’s business in India. However, this would only take place once pending tax matters had been settled.

The company has been embroiled in a legal tussle with the Indian authorities over a £1.2 billion tax demand pertaining to a 2007 acquisition of local telephony assets.

"We have continued to make good progress in delivering our long-term strategy. Our emerging markets businesses are performing very well, driven by rapidly increasing smartphone penetration and data usage. In mature markets, our performance reflects more challenging conditions, which we continue to mitigate through ongoing actions to improve our operating model and cost efficiency," Colao added.

The half-yearly update follows the September divestment of Vodafone’s stake in Verizon Wireless for £84 billion ($130 billion) and its takeover of Kabel Deutschland, Germany's largest cable operator, for £6.45 billion.

Updating the markets on the development, Colao said: "The pending $130 billion transaction with Verizon will reward our shareholders for their long-term support of our strategy and will provide us with a strong balance sheet, improved dividend cover and the financial and strategic flexibility to make further investments in the business or returns to shareholders in the future."