Vodafone India might sell off its 4.4 percent share in Bharti Airtel if the rules no longer permit telecom operators to hold a share in the competitors. Vodafone had disclosed in a letter issued to the telecom ministry last year that it held a 4.4 percent share in Bharti Airtel.
“The share is not with us, it’s with Vodafone Group so we really don’t know… I can only say if the rules don’t allow us to keep it then we will not keep it. We are not going to sell the Indian operations to hold 4.4% in Bharti,” Vodafone India managing director and chief executive officer (CEO), Marten Pieters told PTI.
The company is in the country for the long haul and will sell off its share to comply with the rules. As of now, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India operate under the Unified Access Service License (2G Licenses) which allowed telecom operators to hold a share up to a maximum of 9.9 percent in other companies.
But the new rules suggest that the telecom service operators which are operating as per the previous licenses need to migrate to new licenses on expiry of the previous permits. Post that, they need to sell their shares in any of the competitors within a year of the unified license getting allotted. A point worth mentioning is that Vodafone has applied for a unified license in Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi circles as per the reports in LiveMint.