Incumbent telco Vodafone exiting the Indian market is now the latest rumour doing the rounds in the Indian telecom circle. This comes after the recent Supreme Court ruling that upheld the central government’s definition of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) stating that certain operators including Vodafone would have to cough up nearly Rs 92000 crores under various charges such as spectrum usage and license fee to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
Now, with the above on one side, Vodafone is also said to be mulling filing review petitions on the court order, but there has been no clarity on this aspect. At this juncture, as per an IANS report, quoted by multiple sources on the web, Vodafone is said to be looking at winding down operations in India “any day now”. This is also reportedly due to mounting loses plaguing the telco.
Also, after the recent Supreme Court verdict on AGR, Vodafone’s share prices fell to Rs 3.86; an all-time low for the company. We think that the above could potentially be taken with a pinch of salt at this point in time. For now, Vodafone-Idea continues to be the single-largest telecom operator in India with nearly 39 crore subscribers, ahead of Jio (at nearly 33 crores) and Bharti Airtel (33 crores). Any changes in plans would naturally be communicated through official channels, as far as Vodafone exiting the Indian telecom market is concerned.
Telecom industry is witnessing a lot of action of late apart from the SC verdict, Telcos have been mired in a war of words over Interconnect Usage Charge (ICU) has been a hotly debated topic in the Indian telecom circle. Recently, TRAI issued a consultation paper seeking industry giants’ views on implementing Bill and Keep (BAK) or Zero termination charge from January this year. TRAI was seeking views on pushing the implementation date of BAK to which Jio and the Broadband India Forum have replied asking not to revise the original BAK implementation date which is 1 January 2020.