Vodafone Group hired a financial services company to evaluate strategic options for its unit in Spain, business newspaper Expansion reported, as media speculation on the future of the operation continues.

The publication cited various sources claiming investment bank Morgan Stanley and other advisers were looking into options for the company’s unit, which the operator regularly cites as suffering from high levels of competition in the market.

In the group’s latest annual report, published in May, it noted a “strategic review” of its operations in Spain was part of a multi-faceted action plan to spur growth across several European markets.

During its fiscal 2023 (to end-March) Spain had the highest year-on-year service revenue drop of all the markets it broke out individually, with a 5.4 per cent decline. The fall was blamed on “continued price competition in the value segment and a lower customer base”.

The company is not the only player in the market to bemoan high levels of competition, with Orange also feeling the heat and subsequently striking a deal to merge operations with rival Masmovil in an attempt to make savings and up investment into the market.

Prior to Orange’s deal Vodafone had been linked with M&A activity in the market.