Vodafone rose as much as 7% in London, and other telecom stocks in Europe also saw a burst higher, with BT last up 2.8%, while M Telecom Italia rose 1.1%, Swisscom added 1.1%, and Orange and Telefonica rose less than 1%.

Two London-based traders attributed the rally to a report that raised the prospect of pickup in M&A activity in the sector.

Earlier in the day, Reuters reported that the EU could relax merger rules in the sector and get large tech companies help fund costly network upgrades.

The European Commission document seen by Reuters, said EU regulators may ease their rules against mobile telecoms mergers and also broaden telecoms rules to get Big Tech and others to help fund the rollout of 5G.

(Reporting by Alun John and Danilo Masoni; Editing by Amanda Cooper)