POLITICAL ECONOMY

Vodafone Idea Reallocates Rights Issue To Defray DoT Fees

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Vodafone Idea set aside INR28.26 billion (US$398 million) from a rights issue conducted in 2019 to cover payment of fees owed to the Indian government, with an equal amount allocated for the repayment of loans.

The operator’s board gave it the green light to use part of the proceeds of an INR250 billion rights issue for the INR53 billion it is required to pay the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in licence fees and spectrum usage charges by 23 January.

Vodafone Idea had to make alternative arrangements following a two year deferral of operators’ spectrum payments, which meant funds previously allocated for those liabilities will not be used, the operator said in stock market filing.

In October 2019, the country’s Supreme Court ruled operators’ adjusted gross revenue (AGR) covers all revenue, including non-telecoms related activities. The decision burdens the industry with INR933 billion in additional licence and spectrum usage fees.

Vodafone Idea chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla warned in early December 2019 the Indian operator would shut down if it doesn’t get government relief from the large fees it owes following the AGR decision.-Mobile World Live

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