POLITICAL ECONOMY

Vodafone Idea Risks India Wrath With AGR Plan

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Vodafone Idea reportedly informed India’s Supreme Court it can pay INR25 billion ($350.6 million) of a total INR530 billion it owes in adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues today (17 February), however making a part-payment could land the operator with further penalties.

The Economic Times (ET) reported the operator, which had warned the AGR fees could severely impact its operations and even force a shutdown, told the court it was assessing how much of the dues it will be able to pay, with plans to make payments over the next few days.

After making the INR25 billion payment, the company plans to pay an additional INR10 billion by 21 February.

No relief

The plan to scatter payments could see Vodafone Idea face further action from the Supreme Court, which ruled on 14 February it could hold operators in contempt for failing to meeting a deadline of 23 January to make the full payment.

Vodafone Idea, along with rival Bharti Airtel, had been pushing for additional time to make the payment without incurring further penalties and interest, but the court did not grant any relief.

ET sources said Vodafone Idea could now look to its other operations to help it make the payment, including calling upon Vodafone UK.

Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read, however, vowed not to support the operation with fresh capital earlier this month, instead pushing for payment relief from the government.

India’s Department of Telecommunications issued letters to all operators over the weekend ordering them to make AGR payments immediately, ET added.-Mobile World Live

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