Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao has reignited speculation that the UK-based group may divest its 45 percent stake in US mobile operator Verizon Wireless, reports The Telegraph. Colao told a Goldman Sach’s media conference in New York yesterday that his board is “re-looking” at its position in the joint-venture. “Verizon Wireless is and has been a good investment,” he said. “We are a minor investor, [but we are] very active. The board continues to re-look at the situation.” According to the report, Colao is understood to be frustrated that Verizon Wireless has not paid a dividend in four years. He said the board examines other options “regularly”, but “for the time being we are here.”

Colao also commented on the situation in the UK, where Vodafone could slip to third-place if the recently announced merger between T-Mobile UK and Orange UK goes ahead. According to the Financial Times, Colao said at the conference that Vodafone UK would be a “big number three” if the merger was finalised. “It’s probably going to be a better market,” he said, alluding to the fact that consolidation should give all the remaining UK mobile operators greater pricing power, and therefore higher profit margins. In a trading update, Colao said that Vodafone had experienced a “slight improvement” in recent months, but warned that the company’s corporate divisions are suffering from rising unemployment, which has seen the enterprise cut back their requirements for devices such as the BlackBerry. He added that the company will provide an update on its ongoing cost cutting initiatives in November.