Vodafone Idea CEO Ravinder Takkar, in a short Q&A session with the media, was emphatic that tariff rise was inevitable to sustain the telecom business. Edited excerpts:
On private equity funds participating in the proposed Rs 25,000-crore fundraising plan: The board okayed the fundraising proposal last week. We are evaluating all the options before us.
On whether promoters would invest in equity or if they would dilute their stake: I cannot talk on behalf of the promoters. What is important is Vodafone Idea has decided to raise additional funds not just for paying the AGR (adjusted gross revenue) dues but also for continuity of business and service. I can say that we have support from both the promoters in the near future or forever.
On whether the 10-year staggered payment allowed by the Supreme Court is sufficient: The government had asked for 20 years and we also sought at least 15 year instalment. But, we are thankful to the court for 10 years. It’s very useful to us as we plan our journey ahead. We have already paid our 10 per cent upfront due. Our instalment will begin in March 2022 now.
On hiking tariffs: Tariffs are unsustainable below cost as is the situation now. Raising tariffs is important and we are never shy of doing that. We have done it in the past when industry players followed us. That’s the reason, the regulator is also engaged in a discussion for setting a floor price.