After the DoT did not pay any heed to Idea Cellular and Vodafone India’s requests to re-consider the dues amount for merger approval, it seems that that the telecom companies have decided to pay up under protest. The telecom companies may appeal against this move in the Supreme Court.
After the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) did not pay any heed to Idea Cellular and Vodafone India’s requests to re-consider the dues amount for merger approval, sources with direct knowledge suggested that the telecom companies have decided to pay up under protest.
Sources also suggested that Idea and Vodafone are likely to appeal against this move in the Supreme Court.
The number two and three telecom service providers are likely to clear dues worth Rs 7,268 crore in the next few weeks to get the final nod from the DoT to go ahead and create the largest telecom company by merging the Indian operations.
However, Idea and Vodafone decided to go ahead with the payment to avoid any more delay to the merger, which was announced in March 2017.
The DoT has asked Idea to give a bank guarantee of Rs 3,342 crore for one-time spectrum charges and Vodafone to pay Rs 3,926 crore in cash towards market price for non-auctioned airwaves held by the company.
‘Under Protest’ means payor reserves right to object to the obligation and if the telecom companies win the case, they can get a refund from the DoT.
Idea and Vodafone declined to make any comment on CNBC-TV18’s query on the subject.
Idea and Vodafone have a recent legal precedent, which may give them hope on a favourable verdict from the Supreme Court.
DoT’s claims at the time of Bharti Airtel’s acquisition of Telenor India was stayed by the Supreme Court.
Earlier, the telecom ministry on July 9 approved the merger of Vodafone and Idea that will create the country's largest mobile services operator worth over $23 billion (or over Rs 1.5 lakh crore), with a 35 per cent market share and a subscriber base of around 430 million.