British telecom major Vodafone Inc top officer Nick Read is learnt to have met Department of Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan on Monday to seek relief in spectrum payments of its Indian arm Vodafone Idea.
"The meeting between telecom secretary and Read was held on Monday to discuss relaxation in spectrum payment for Vodafone Idea," a source privy to the development said.
Idea Cellular completes merger with Vodafone India, all set to become largest telecom operator in country
Vodafone Idea, along with Bharti Airtel, has requested the government to defer spectrum payment instalments with a two-year moratorium given the losses that these players are facing.
Vodafone holds 45.1 stake in the combined entity, while Kumar Mangalam Birla-led Aditya Birla Group controls 26 per cent and Idea shareholders own 28.9 per cent.
Vodafone Idea is required to pay instalment of around Rs 10,000 crore for spectrum that it has acquired in the past five auctions.
Vodafone and Idea have participated in five auctions that were held in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016 before merging their mobile business. In five auctions, Vodafone alone had acquired spectrum worth Rs 79,343 crore, which is the highest in terms of value compared to bids made by any other operator. Idea too had purchased spectrum worth Rs 63,597 crore in those auctions.
After completion of merger on August 31, 2018, the spectrum payment liability is now on Vodafone Idea.
Vodafone Idea is in process of raising Rs 25,000 crore for investment in business. The British major has committed to contribute Rs 11,000 crore in the fund raising exercise while Aditya Birla Group will contribute Rs 7,250 crore.