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Telecom Department Looking Into Vodafone-Idea Plea On Recalculating Dues

Vodafone and Idea Cellular Ltd. have cited “some difference of opinion” on the way dues have been computed by the Telecom Department, which is “looking into” the issue, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said today.

“They (the companies) have come back to us saying there is some difference of opinion in calculation of dues. So DoT is looking into it and we have not taken a view yet,” said Sundararajan on the sidelines of a broadband event organised by CUTS International.

The department’s calculation pertains to bank guarantees and cash payment sought from Idea Cellular and Vodafone India. The two companies have made a request for re-calculation.

Earlier this month, the Telecom Ministry granted conditional approval to the long-pending merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular that will create the country’s largest mobile services operator dislodging Bharti Airtel Ltd. from its current pole position.

The department has asked for a payment of Rs 3,926 crore in cash pertaining to one-time spectrum charge of Vodafone. The amount can be paid either by Idea or Vodafone. The DoT has also asked Idea Cellular to furnish a combined bank guarantee of Rs 3,342 crore.

The combined operations of Idea and Vodafone will create the country’s largest telecom operator worth over $23 billion, with a 35 percent market share and a subscriber base of around 43 crore. – Bloomberg Quint

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