‘Fair to say it’s a critical situation’: Vodafone CEO on future in India

NEW DELHI: British telecom giant Vodafone’s chief executive Nick Read on Tuesday termed India’s investment strategy as “well placed”, however, mentioned that the situation has been financially “a negative burden”. He stated that the British giant “committed a lot of capital in India, but still believe potential is there.”

Commenting on the telecom operator’s future in India, Vodafone CEO said: “It’s fair to say it’s a critical situation.”

Last month, the British operator had clarified that it will continue to stay invested in the Indian market and is seeking the government’s support to tide over the current challenging times.

“Vodafone is aware of the unfounded and baseless rumours circulating in some of the Indian media that we have decided to exit the market. We would like to categorically state that this is not true and is malicious,” Vodafone group had said in a statement.

CEO Read further said that the group is actively engaging with the Indian government as “it understands the issue and urgency”. He noted that group “needs supportive regulatory environment and sustainable pricing in India”.

Vodafone-Idea, the British operator’s combined India unit with Idea Cellular, is staring at nearly Rs 40,000 crore of potential statutory dues after a Supreme Court ruling upheld the government’s way of calculating telecom revenue, on which licence fee and spectrum usage charges are computed.

The telecom sector has been battered by falling tariffs, eroding profitability and mounting debt in the face of stiff competition triggered by disruptive offerings of Reliance Jio.

(With Reuters inputs)

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