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Vodafone-Idea merger: No delay from governments side, says Manoj Sinha
July, 03rd 2018

Telecom Minister Manoj SinhaTuesday said that there is no delay from the part of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in the ongoing merger between the Vodafone India and Idea Cellular and that only requires statutory process to be completed.

“There is no delay from the department or the government’s side. The completion of statutory process and formalities are important,” Sinha told on the sidelines of an industry event in New Delhi.

Sinha, however, added that there would be no merger and acquisition (between Vodafone and Idea) till the time all formalities are concluded.

Following the disruptive foray of billionaire Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) in September 2016, the UK-based Vodafone and Aditya Birla group’s Idea Cellular have together announced their merger to create India’s largest telecom company replacing Sunil Mittal-driven Bharti Airtel’s market dominance.

Sinha also said that the department was only following the laid down rules, and once the two companies meet the required process, the merger would be instantaneous.

“The merger and acquisitions norms were fixed by the Department of Telecommunications and if those are completed, there will be no delay of even a second from the department,” he said, and believes that following a statutory process is government’s responsibility.

The merger between the country No 2 and No 3 telecom service providers was however, expected to be concluded by the end of June 2018, but the fate of the mega deal hangs in balance since the telecom department is apparently raising a demand notice against Vodafone India to clear dues of nearly Rs 4,700 crore for one-time spectrum charges (OTSC).

The new demand is in addition to the bank guarantee of around Rs 2,100 crore that the government is expected to get from Idea Cellular for one-time spectrum charges dues.

Vodafone Mobile Services which is Vodafone India today, was formed in 2015, after the merger of its four subsidiaries— Vodafone East, Vodafone South, Vodafone Cellular and Vodafone Digilink.

The government had demanded Vodafone to pay OTSC dues amounting to Rs 6,678 core. Following the Supreme Court verdict, Vodafone India had since then paid only Rs 2,000 crore.

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