Telecoms giant Vodafone saw earnings rise to a better-than-expected €7.9bn (£6.8bn, $8.5bn), boosted by improved trading in European markets such as Germany and Italy.

The operator said its underlying earnings lifted 4.3% in the six months to the end of September, beating City forecasts of €7.8bn.

The group added that its bottom-line earnings were growing faster than revenue in 19 out of 26 markets, aided by cost efficiencies.

The company's European fixed-line infrastructure covers around 30 million homes, and is beginning to achieve strong customer momentum offering mobile, TV, broadband and other services.

Chief executive Vittorio Colao said: "We have further improved our performance during the first half of the financial year with Europe modestly ahead of our expectations – led by Germany and Italy – and good execution in Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific.

"Overall, we expect to sustain our underlying performance in the second half of the year and remain on track to meet our full-year objectives despite macroeconomic uncertainties."

In the Indian mobile market the three biggest players Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, are being challenged by new entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm, backed by businessman Mukesh Ambani.

The group slightly lowered the top of its range for its overall full-year earnings to €15.7bn to €16.1bn. The top limit was previously €16.2bn.