Telecom company Vodafone signed for the final EUR 100 million chunk of a EUR 400 million loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) earlier in the week. The funding is split between Vodafone Romania and Vodafone Telekomunikasyon AS (the Turkish subsidiary) and will be used for network infrastructure improvements and extensions. Upgrades include increasing connection speeds and 4G coverage.
Of the total, EUR 150 million will go to Vodafone Romania and the remaining EUR 250 million to Turkey, according to Romanian economic news organization Ziarul Financiar.
The deal was originally made back in December 2011 and earlier installments have already been received. No fixed amount was given, but according to the EIB, up to EUR 500 million could have been made available.
Extending LTE technology 4G coverage, as well as offering more 4G ready smartphones on the local market are among Vodafone’s priorities this yea.
Vodafone Romania launched limited 4G services on November 20 last year in ten cities across the country – Arad, Bacau, Brasov, Bucharest, Cluj, Constanta, Craiova, Iasi, Galati and Timisoara. According to Vodafone connection speeds of up to 75Mbps were possible and 4G geographic coverage in the cities serviced was around 90 percent.
However, coverage in Bucharest was much lower. Vodafone’s website suggested that 4G coverage would be very limited in Bucharest. See an interactive coverage map for Romania here.
Vodafone’s 4G network runs in the 1800 MHz frequency bandwidth and Romania was among the first European markets where the company rolled out 4G services, after Germany, Portugal and Italy.
Worldwide, the British led telecommunications group Vodafone recorded revenues last year of some GBP 11.4 billion (EUR 14.1 billion), down 2 percent, due to poor results in recession hit economies such as Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal, according to news service Bloomberg.