Minister of Communications Ashwini Vaishnaw on Thursday said that financially ailing Vodafone Idea (Vi) would need capital infusion, and equity conversion is a “complex issue” which is under discussion.
“Vodafone Idea has many requirements. It has a particular requirement of capital. How much capital and who will infuse? All those things are under discussion at this point of time,” Vaishnaw said.
“The responsibility of capital has to come from various sources. The company just doesn’t require conversion. It requires capital. All those things are complex issues,” Vaishnaw said.
The government equity conversion in the stressed telco has been a matter of concern for the third-largest telecom carrier’s survival which is hanging fire for more than a year now.
The accrued interest on AGR-related dues stands at Rs 16,130 crore and the conversion may allow the Indian government to hold a majority stake of close to 33% in the private telco which is a joint venture (JV) between UK-based Vodafone group and Aditya Birla group’s Idea Cellular.
The British government is, however, using diplomatic channels to make India announce equity conversion so that the company’s stakeholders could get a clarity, and raise funds.
On telcos seeking parity with over-the-top or OTT players, Vaisnaw said that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is working on the matter, and had uploaded the discussion paper.
This (OTT) is a complex matter, and these things are not decided in one go. Globally, there is a movement by which the entire sector is moving in a particular direction.
The telecom service providers are at odds with OTT players, seeking the same service and same rules, as the latter use telcos network without paying any fee.