LONDON, May 20 (Reuters) - Britain's Vodafone said its core earnings would fall in 2015 due to the investment needed in the business as it reported 2014 results in line with forecasts, helped by an improvement in underlying trading in the fourth quarter.
The world's second-largest mobile operator has reported record falls in underlying revenue in the last 18 months, due to fierce competition in Europe, regulator-imposed price cuts and European consumers reducing the number of calls they made during the recession.
It is now investing to improve network speed and coverage after selling its U.S. arm in a $130 billion deal. It said its organic service revenue - stripping out items such as handset sales, currency movements and acquisitions - was down 3.8 percent in the three months to the end of March.
That was an improvement on the 4.8 percent drop recorded in the third quarter and the 4.9 percent fall in the second.
Full-year revenue and core earnings were in line with forecasts.
Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Paul Sandle