British telecom group Vodafone today committed investments totalling Rs 13,000 crore in India for capacity augmentation and new business initiatives. The investment was committed to by Vittorio Colao, CEO of Vodafone Group Plc, in his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here today.
"Since starting operations in India in 2007, Vodafone has already invested over Rs 111,000 crore and over Rs 100,000 cr contributed to the exchequer and is today the largest FDI investor in the country," the company said in a statement.
Colao said, "At Vodafone, we are enthused with the PM's vision for 'Digital India' and 'Make in India'. Vodafone India serves over 188 million citizens, of which almost 100 million are from rural areas.
"As the co-creator of the telecom ecosystem, a catalyst of the telecom revolution in India and being committed for the long term, we are ideally poised to partner the Government of India in fulfilling these important initiatives. We are pleased to announce our enhanced commitment to India through this series of significant further investments."
The committed investment of Rs 13,000 crore includes Rs 8,000 crore to enhance, upgrade and expand network coverage and Rs 3,000 crore to further increase capacity and upgrade its high-end technology centre and IT and customer experience centres in Pune and Ahmedabad.
These centres service Vodafone companies globally, exemplifying the 'Make in India' opportunity and highlighting its success to the world. Another Rs 1,000 crore will be for setting up a state-of- the-art Tier-4 data centre. This is the first of its kind in the Indian telecom sector and is specially designed to service the evolving communications needs of businesses and enterprises, the statement said.
A similar amount of Rs 1,000 crores will be towards the payment bank for which Vodafone M-Pesa Ltd. has received an in-principle license from RBI. "This will provide further impetus to M-Pesas focus on financial inclusion and accelerate Indias journey into a cashless economy."
Vodafone said the planned capacity expansions and investments in the high-end technology centre and the customer service centres will create opportunities for employment and for skilling and training Indias rich talent pool.
"Vodafone will accordingly increase its staffing levels to 15,000 employees over the next two years," the statement said. Vodafone's India business, in addition to being the highest contributor to Vodafone Group's service revenue growth, has the largest customer base (188 million customers), is the largest data traffic market (by volume) and the third largest contributor to Vodafone Groups service revenues.