Vodafone India and Idea Cellular paid INR73 billion ($1 billion) in a combination of cash and bank guarantees to the country’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT), clearing the last major hurdle for the pair’s delayed merger, Economic Times reported.
The deal is well beyond the original deadline of the end of June and has already been cleared by every other relevant authority. In July the DoT provisionally gave the nod on the condition Vodafone and Idea Cellular pay more than INR71 billion in fees alongside meeting a number of other minor terms.
Fees relate to spectrum acquisition charges with Vodafone’s share of INR39 billion to settle a long-standing dispute, and the INR33 billion from Idea Cellular in bank guarantees for other spectrum-related costs.
According to sources at the newspaper, costs were paid under protest and the combined company has retained the right to challenge the charges through the courts at a later date.
The DoT is now expected to waste no time in giving the nod to the transaction, which would create a new market leader by connections, overtaking Bharti Airtel.
The new entity will trade under the name Vodafone Idea and will have 441 million connections, according to GSMA Intelligence estimates for Q2 2018.