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Vodafone has reported a £6.6 billion loss and cut its dividend payout for shareholders for the first time.

The mobile network operator said the loss was partly due to the sale of its business in India. Revenues in the year to March dropped 6% to €43 billion.

Typically one of the highest payers, Vodafone had previously pledged not to cut its dividend. But the loss prompted it to lower its payout from 15.07 cents to 9 cents per share.

Chief executive Nick Read said: "We are executing our strategy at pace and have achieved our guidance for the year, with good growth in most markets but also increased competition in Spain and Italy and headwinds in South Africa.

"These challenges weighed on our service revenue growth during the year, and together with high spectrum auction costs have reduced our financial headroom."

He added that Vodafone was at a "key point of transformation", explaining that its dividend was being "rebased" to allow future growth and debt reduction.