Plans to create 1,400 new jobs in the UK are part of Vodafone's Project Spring. Reuters

Vodafone has announced the creation of 1,400 jobs in the UK by opening 150 new high street shops.

The store openings are part of a £1 billion investment in the UK this year by Vodafone, the largest in the mobile phone company's history.

The investment is the latest implementation of Vodafone's Project Spring, a £6bn plan that will also speed up the company's roll out of 2G, 3G and 4G networks.

The funds come from capital generated by Vodafone through the sale of its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless last year.

The $130bn (£84bn) deal was the single largest return of value to investors in corporate history and has allowed Vodafone to set aside £25bn for investment in its European networks.

Customers want 'physical presence'

Vodafone currently has the smallest presence on the UK high street when compared to any of its main rivals, however the new stores will push the total to above 500 and allow the firm to leapfrog O2.

"Our customers tell us they want us to have a physical presence in retail - brick and mortar where they physically can go," Joroen Hoencamp, UK chief executive of Vodafone, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"Secondly there is a need also for growth in online retail. A lot of customers these days will want to buy something online then pick a store where they can pick up their phone and we will then look after the transfer of contacts and set up the phone.

"It's really integrating these challenges more than anything else."