NEW DELHI: The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) said that the demand to clear dues ahead of Vodafone-Idea merger is in ‘various steps’ required under the existing process for a merger between the two.
“I can only say that the process is under various stages (to raise dues),” Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan told ETTelecom, adding that the merger between the two companies, is expected very soon.
Sundararajan, however, said that it would be ‘premature’ to precisely tell the amount the two telcos owe to the government on account of spectrum usage charge and other levies.
Early this month, Aditya Birla group’s Idea Cellular has received approval from the telecom department to raise the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit up to 100%, paving a way for merger with UK-based Vodafone’s India operations.
Kumar Mangalam Birla-led telco would be a licensee in a merged scenario, and would be allowed to submit bank guarantees equivalent to its Rs 2,113 crore one-time spectrum chargesas a prerequisite to its proposed merger with Vodafone India.
The government sources, however, say that dues would not be a roadblock to the proposed merger between the two operators.
Mumbai-based Idea Cellular in its extraordinary general meeting to be held on June 26, is also to name merged entity as “Vodafone Idea.”
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio’s disruptive foray in September 2016 triggered India’s No 2 and No 3 telcos, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, to merge their operations to create the country’s largest company with more than 410 million customers, nearly 45% customer market share (CMS) and close to 38% revenue market share (RMS), ending dominance of market leader Bharti Airtel.
Vodafone India’s chief executive Sunil Sood, reiterating the company’s stand on concluding merger in the first half of 2018, recently said that the two telcos would combine operations very soon.