Vodafone and Idea on the way to their merger have hit a roadblock in the form of DoT’s demands which the department has raised for pending dues. Regarding this, Aruna Sundararajan, Telecom Secretary said that there is a difference of opinion between the companies and the department. She also said that the DoT is “looking into” the issue. During an event organised by CUTS International, Aruna Sundararajan said “They (the companies) have come back to us saying there is some difference of opinion in the calculation of dues. So DoT is looking into it, and we have not taken a view yet.” PTI reported this news.
It is noteworthy, that telecom department gave a conditional nod to the Vodafone Idea merger because both the telcos will have to pay up the pending dues of Rs 7,268 crores for One Time Spectrum Charges (OTSC) and held up airwaves by Vodafone. The telcos were asked to furnish bank guarantees and to pay the part in cash. However, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular found some discrepancies in the calculation done by the DoT and asked the department to conduct a re-estimation of the number.
The combined entity which will be formed after the DoT’s final approval will be the country’s largest telecom operator worth over USD 23 billion (or over Rs 1.5 lakh crore). It will have a 35% market share and a subscriber base of around 43 crores, even higher than the current largest telco Bharti Airtel.