Vodafone Group Reaches 6-Month High

LONDON -- Vodafone continued its recent climb, rising 2.5% to reach 183 pence, following the announcement that it has won a lucrative contract in New Zealand.

New Zealand Police revealed that it has selected Vodafone NZ as its partner for mobile communications using "smart technology." The 10-year, fully outsourced deal will initially cost NZ $4.3 million, with the force expecting to spend NZ $159 million across the decade to fund the rollout. The statement continued: "Over the same [10-year] period, the move is expected to provide New Zealand Police with productivity benefits of NZ$304.8m. These benefits were identified by New Zealand Police during an 11-month trial involving more than 100 frontline officers in four Police districts."

The force identified that smart devices lend a 30-minute productivity gain per shift for front-line staff, which equates to 520,000 hours each year -- or the equivalent of 345 officers. The customized mobile services and smartphones supplied by Vodafone will also help "more than 6,000 frontline response, investigation and community Police officers to securely access information about suspects, vehicles and locations while on the move," with 4,000 tablets to be supplied for complex data entry as part of the deal, too.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Peter Marshall commented: "We believe greater use of modern technology is the way of the future; it's common sense, and will ensure officers can remain on the frontline rather than returning to stations to complete paperwork."

Vodafone New Zealand CEO Russell Stanners said:

We are pleased to be partnering with New Zealand Police to help them realise their mobility goals. Vodafone invests over $100 million a year in our network in New Zealand and this year's investment programme, focused on delivering speeds up to twice as fast through 42Mb/s technology, means our customers -- including Police -- can do what they need to do, faster with the latest technology. This will deliver an outcome that directly benefits the security and safety of New Zealand communities.

Vodafone's shares have not previously reached this level since August 30, 2012, when they had begun to sink from a five-year high of 191 pence earlier in the month. Following recent rumors of Verizon Communications mulling over buying out Vodafone's shares in their joint-venture Verizon Wireless, the telecoms company's share price has climbed as the market appeared to have newfound hope for the stock. And on a price-to-earnings ratio below 12, and a healthy yield forecast of 6.2%, it's not hard to see why.

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