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Vodafone Idea likely to find India spectrum moratorium too little, too late

Telecom companies may get only a short-term breather from the government move

Vodafone Idea may have to pay as much as 442 billion rupees ($6.2 billion) in adjusted gross revenue dues and penalties, the biggest in the industry, while rival Bharti will have to fork out 343 billion rupees.   © Reuters

MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- India's decision to allow telecom companies to defer spectrum payments offers a short-term breather to wireless carriers, but for floundering operator Vodafone Idea, the measure could be too little, too late.

After Vodafone Idea, India's biggest mobile phone company by subscribers, and rival Bharti Airtel sought relief citing their burgeoning debt, challenging market conditions, and unfavorable policies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration last night offered a two-year moratorium on the payment of spectrum charges for the next two fiscal years until March 2022. The government instead asked the operators to pay the deferred amount as annual installments, along with interest, starting the fiscal year 2023.

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