- Vodafone CEO has said that it continues to operate in India and plans to keep things same way
- He also added that the financial situation is critical
- Govt has proposed a cut in license fees for relief
The financial situation of Vodafone Idea in the industry is not the best one in the telecom industry. The telecom operator has been neck-deep in dues and increasing the struggle for the telecom company is the churn of subscribers who are porting out of their Vodafone Idea SIMs. If this was not enough for the company, there came the issue of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) as ruled by the Supreme Court and put on an additional burden on the shoulder of the former largest telecom company of India. Now in the wake of these happenings, we saw some strong remarks coming from the CEO of UK based Vodafone Plc, which also owns a major stake in the Vodafone Idea Ltd telecom company. In a new report as brought forth by ET Telecom, the Vodafone CEO has taken a soft footing and issued an apology to the Indian government regarding the Vodafone Idea venture and has noted that his remarks were distorted.
Govt Officials Express Displeasure Over Statements of Vodafone CEO
Vodafone CEO, Nick Read wrote a letter to Prime Minister Modi, the telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and some other senior government officials. In his letter, Read noted, “The coverage in India has been distorted, and I apologise for the impression that the coverage conveys. It doesn’t accurately represent my comments.” Adding on to this, Read also highlighted that the company still has desires to continue operations in India and it also appreciates the committee of secretaries that have been set up to look into potential remedies and their considerable effort. The effort which Read has talked about will bring financial relief to the telecom companies and will be a huge benefit to Vodafone Idea, along with easing things for Bharti Airtel.
Vodafone Plc to Remain Invested in India: CEO
As per a senior official, Read’s letter came after some of the top government officials expressed disapproval and displeasure on Read’s tone in the letter and thought that it was strongly worded. The new letter from Read said, “I would like to express my gratitude to the Indian government for designing a relief package in the light of the recent AGR (adjusted gross revenue) judgment and the financial stress the telecom industry is undergoing.” He also added that on coming to India and on getting to engage with the government, he found that there is a deep desire on the part of the Indian government to help. However, with this, Read also added clarifying that what he wanted to point out was that the situation in the Indian telecom market has reached a critical point. With this, he also said that he wants to engage with the Indian government in the coming days.
Government Proposes Some Relief for Telcos
The Indian government, on the other hand, has proposed cutting the license fees from the present rate of 8% of AGR down to 5% and as for the spectrum dues, the government is ready to give a two year moratorium period of to the telecom operator for paying up these dues. It is noteworthy that Vodafone Idea owes a total of Rs 24,000 crore to the government, which is the highest that any telecom operator owes.
Read’s letter has also said that the company strongly believes in the country’s potential, its telecom sector and the transformative power of the telecom industry for the citizen. Now only this, but the operations of the company are also closely aligned with the Digital India vision. He also said that India remains a key market for Vodafone and it remains invested in it.
Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.