Vodafone chief pushes for India payment relief - Mobile World Live

Vodafone chief pushes for India payment relief

06 FEB 2020

Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read (pictured) warned the outlook for its joint venture in India remained critical and reiterated a vow not to support the operation with fresh capital, The Economic Times reported.

Given an adverse regulatory judgement, which requires Vodafone Idea to pay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues totalling INR530 billion ($7.4 billion), he promised in November 2019 to stop injecting group funds into the country.

Read said Vodafone Idea, the second largest operator in India by subscribers, requested a waiver of interest and penalties on the dues, and sought to pay the principal over ten years with a two-year moratorium, the newspaper wrote. Interest and penalties are estimated to account for more 75 per cent of the total AGR fee.

In Vodafone’s fiscal Q3 earnings statement, he added Vodafone Idea is actively seeking various forms of relief from the government to ensure the rate and level of payments it makes is sustainable, and it can meet other commitments as they fall due.

In November 2019, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) granted a two-year spectrum moratorium.

Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel filed petitions requesting the Supreme Court to order the DoT to determine a payment schedule in relation to AGR dues and other reliefs. These are expected to be heard soon.

In December 2019, Vodafone Idea chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla warned the operator would shut down if it doesn’t get government relief.

Read noted Vodafone extended the stop date on an agreement to merge Indus Towers and Bharti Infratel, which is awaiting DoT approval.

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Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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