Advertisements for Vodafone India Ltd. and Idea Cellular Ltd. are displayed on a street in Mumbai, India (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)  

DoT Awaits FDI Clearance Before Approving Idea-Vodafone Merger

Department of Telecom is waiting for the DIPP to raise foreign direct investment limit in Idea Cellular Ltd. to 100 percent, before approving its merger with Vodafone India, as per official sources.

“Only FDI clearance for Idea is pending before the proposed merger with Vodafone (India) can go through. FDI limit needs to be raised for both the deals -- sale of the tower business to ATC and the Vodafone merger,” a government official told news agency PTI.

The official added that the DoT had approached the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion for its remarks around two weeks back and is waiting to hear from it.

Both the companies (Idea and Vodafone) will be asked to clear their dues before merger is taken on record. DoT has not calculated the final amount...
Government official to PTI

All concerned ministries are required to submit their comments within 4 weeks of the proposal, according to the standard operating procedure. In absence of comments, it is presumed that ministries or departments have no comments to offer.

However, FDI clearance in telecom sector also requires approval from the Home Ministry which should be granted within six weeks. In case it is unable to provide its comment within six weeks, it needs to indicate time frame within which it will provide the comments.

The merged Idea-Vodafone entity will have highest subscriber base of 41 crore accounting for over 35 percent market share and second largest spectrum holding of 1,850 megahertz in the country.

The merger is expected replace Bharti Airtel from its numero uno position which it has maintained in Indian telecom market with highest number of subscriber base at least since last one decade as per reports of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

The debt of resultant entity is expected to be around 1.1 lakh crore as per debt situation of Idea and Vodafone India at the end of September 2017.

The amalgamation will result in capex synergies, since it will eliminate the duplication of spectrum capacity and infrastructure related requirements.

Idea and Vodafone are separately paying rental for 6,300 mobile sites which will be synced for merged entity within two years.