Vodafone Idea seeks spectrum dues deferral

22 Jan 2019

India's Vodafone Idea is requesting a two-year moratorium on the need to make annual spectrum payments due to the operator's high debt levels and stressed balance sheet.

The Department of Telecom has confirmed it has received the appeal for the additional two year moratorium, and is currently considering the request, Press Trust of India reported.

The report notes that the request will need to be reviewed by other government departments before any decision is made.

Vodafone Idea, which was established last year through the merger between Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, is estimated to owe around 100 billion rupees ($1.39 billion) in spectrum payments for this year alone.

Vodafone and Idea collectively participated in five auctions between 2010 and 2016. They were forced to merge last year after the local telecoms sector lost 42% of its revenue between 2016 and 2018 as a result of the aggressive price war triggered by the entry of Reliance Jio Infocomm.

Meanwhile Vodafone Idea is pursuing other means of improving its finances, including plans to raise 250 billion rupees in equity capital and to sell its non-core tower and fiber assets. Parent companies Vodafone and the Aditya Birla Group both also plan to inject fresh capital into the joint venture.

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