Voda Idea to shut shop if no relief given by govt, says Birla

NEW DELHI:Vodafone Idea Ltd, the country’s third largest mobile service provider, will shut down if the government does not provide relief on the liability it faces in past statutory dues following a Supreme Court order, its billionaire chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said today.

Voda Idea to shut shop if no relief given by govt, says Birla

ROBINSINGH@TRIBUNE.COM

New Delhi, December 6 

Vodafone Idea Ltd, the country’s third largest mobile service provider, will shut down if the government does not provide relief on the liability it faces in past statutory dues following a Supreme Court order, its billionaire chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said today.

“If we are not getting anything then I think it is end of story for Vodafone Idea,” Birla said at an event when asked about the future of Vodafone Idea in the absence of a government relief on payment of Rs 53,038-crore dues.

Birla’s Idea Cellular and British telecom giant Vodafone plc’s India unit had merged last year to compete with the onslaught of free voice calling and dirt cheap data unleashed by  Reliance Jio.

In the process, it accumulated Rs 1.17 lakh crore debt and had just weeks ago posted corporate India’s biggest loss after it provisioned for the liability arising from the Supreme Court upholding the government’s position on what base should statutory liabilities be calculated.

“It does not make sense to put good money after bad. That would be end of story for us. We will shut shop,” he said in a response when asked if Vodafone Idea will put in more money.

Market leader Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and other telecom players have to pay as much as Rs 1.47 lakh crore in payment of telecom licence fee and spectrum usage charge together with interest and penalty for past 14 years. — PTI


Telcos owe Rs 1.47 lakh crore to govt

  • Market leader Airtel, Vodafone Idea and other telecom players have to pay as much as Rs 1.47 lakh crore in payment of telecom licence fee and spectrum usage charge together with interest and penalty for past 14 years
  • Both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have petitioned the government for relief in waiver of interest and penalty, which will halve the dues, and also filed a review petition in the Supreme Court
  • Kumar Mangalam Birla was, however, hopeful of a relief from the government not just for the telecom sector but the industry as a whole to pull out the economy from a six-year low Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 4.5%

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