Posts tagged ‘Vodafone’

07/10/2016

India telecoms spectrum auction raises $9.9 billion, Vodafone tops spending | Reuters

Vodafone Group Plc (VOD.L) was the biggest spender in an Indian mobile phone spectrum auction that raised a total $9.9 billion for the government, as carriers competed to boost subscribers in the world’s fastest-growing internet services market.

The proceeds of the auction, which ended on Thursday after five days of bidding, helped India raise about 658 billion rupees ($9.87 billion).

That figure was well below the $84 billion worth of spectrum on offer however, as carriers shunned the priciest category of airwaves, snapping up less than half of the total on offer.

Yet given the vast volume available, no one had expected the priciest spectrum – that offers deeper reach – to be bought now, as data demand in India is still in its infancy and data costs in the ultra-competitive market are falling, making it harder for carriers to justify big cash outlays.

JPMorgan earlier on Thursday had projected the auction would generate between $8 billion and $12 billion.The government had budgeted for 646 billion rupees ($9.7 billion) as revenue from the auction in the current fiscal year ending March. It will receive some 320 billion rupees upfront, as carriers are allowed to make payments in instalments.

Vodafone, which in recent months injected $7.2 billion in its Indian unit, the market’s No.2, bought spectrum worth more than $3 billion, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

Market leader Bharti Airtel (BRTI.NS) bought $2.13 billion worth, while No. 3 player Idea Cellular (IDEA.NS) spent $1.92 billion at the auction.

The three rivals, which together hold more than 60 percent of the Indian market of a billion-plus mobile subscriptions, are being challenged by new entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm, backed by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani.Reliance Jio, which has the most 4G airwaves across India’s 22 telecoms zones, last month launched services with free voice calls and cut-rate data prices, triggering a price war. It bought spectrum worth $2.05 billion.

Although among India’s top three, Vodafone and Idea lag Bharti and Jio in terms of 4G presence, and were seen beefing up their high-speed data networks by aggressively bidding in the latest spectrum sale.

Idea said on Thursday it had been able to complete its mobile broadband footprint in all 22 service areas after the latest auction. Vodafone was yet to give details.The government found no takers for the best-quality and the priciest 700 megahertz airwaves, offered for the first time.

Carriers instead purchased spectrum in the 1800 and 2300 bands that can also handle 4G traffic.

All seven carriers including Reliance Communications (RLCM.NS) and Tata Teleservices that participated in the auction bought some spectrum, Telecoms Minister Manoj Sinha told reporters on Thursday.

The auction was India’s largest by spectrum volume.

Source: India telecoms spectrum auction raises $9.9 billion, Vodafone tops spending | Reuters

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01/09/2016

India’s richest man unveils telecoms venture with free calls, cut-price data | Reuters

India’s Reliance Industries unveiled its new telecom network on Thursday, touting free calls and rock-bottom data prices that sent shares of established telecom players into a nosedive on fears of an all-out price war.

Reliance’s Chairman Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, told shareholders at the energy giant’s annual shareholder meet that services on the new network, dubbed Jio, would be available for free until Dec. 31 as it continues network tests. He did not say when the services would be launched commercially.

Reliance, one of India’s biggest business houses which gets most of its revenue from its sprawling oil and gas business, has in the recent years expanded into more consumer-facing markets such as retail and telecom as growth in its core business slows.

The company, which secured telecom airwaves in 2010, has so far invested more than $20 billion on building a nationwide network, and has pledged to offer affordable services to price-conscious Indian customers.

Ambani, who was interrupted by repeated rounds of applause as he took shareholders through Jio’s ambitious rollout plans, free countrywide roaming offering and more, vowed to “transform India from a high-priced data market to one with the lowest data rates anywhere in the world.

“Jio could make Reliance a big provider of telecoms and internet services across India – a nation of one billion mobile phone subscribers – and is a key plank of Ambani’s future strategy even though the business is unlikely to add significantly to consolidated profit any time soon.

Jio will effectively price one gigabyte of data at about 50 rupees for some users, about one-fifth of what rivals charge, Ambani said. Data charges will fall even further for heavier users, he said.

Ambani set a target of 100 million customers for Reliance Jio “in the shortest possible time”, without specifying.

Shares in India’s No. 1 wireless carrier Bharti Airtel Ltd dropped 6.3 percent on Thursday, while smaller rival Idea Cellular fell 10.5 percent, on fears that Jio’s aggressive rates will trigger a price war in the sector.

The incumbents have already started lowering data prices ahead of Jio’s entry.

Still, a telecom analyst, who declined to be named, said Jio would face challenges in luring low-spending phone users to its network.

Jio’s cheapest plan starts at 149 rupees and offers just 0.3 gigabytes of data and the company’s next plan up costs 499 rupees, while a majority of India’s phone users who still have basic phones spend less than 200 rupees a month on telecommunications services.

“It is definitely aggressive and will hurt the incumbents,” he said. “But it’s not like it’s going to push everyone else out of the market.”

($1 = 66.9475 Indian rupees)

Source: India’s richest man unveils telecoms venture with free calls, cut-price data | Reuters

19/04/2015

India issues fresh tax notice to Vodafone – report | Reuters

Tax authorities have issued a fresh notice to Vodafone Group Plc (VOD.L) seeking re-assessment of tax returns for assessment year 2009-2010, news channel ET Now reported on Saturday citing sources familiar with the development.

A man checks his mobile phone as he walks past a shop displaying the Vodafone logo on its shutter in Mumbai January 15, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

The government in January said it would not appeal a regional court ruling in favour of Vodafone in a long-running dispute under which the taxmen had accused a unit of the British telecoms firm of under-pricing shares in a rights issue.

Vodafone has 30 days to respond to the fresh notice, the news channel’s report said. (bit.ly/1JUMvap)

However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in comments carried by Business Standard newspaper, said: “Barring a case that is pending under that law (Income Tax Act) or another case that has arisen now, I think we’ve put most issues to rest, as far as retrospective legislation is concerned.” (bit.ly/1EZM9Q7)

via India issues fresh tax notice to Vodafone – report | Reuters.

29/01/2015

India’s Vodafone decision eases tax worries for Shell, others | Reuters

This action demonstrates the new pro-business attitude of Modi’s government.

“India’s decision to drop a tax dispute with Vodafone Group Plc(VOD.L) is likely to mean relief for Royal Dutch Shell PLC(RDSa.L) and others caught in similar, protracted battles, as the government tries to attract much-needed foreign investment.

A Shell logo is seen at a petrol station in London January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor/Files

India’s image as an investment destination has been tarnished by a reputation for red tape, unpredictable rules and a tax office long seen as over zealous in its pursuit of foreign firms. Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s government, seeking to reboot a slowing economy, has sought to change that.

Late on Wednesday, the government said it would not appeal a Bombay High Court ruling in favour of Vodafone, the biggest foreign investor in India.

“It’s a departure from the past when all the high-value tax cases were always litigated,” said Himanshu Shekar Sinha, a partner at law firm Trilegal.

“With this, the government has sent a clear direction that appeals should not be filed routinely.”

Tax lawyers said they expected cases such as those involving IBM (IBM.N), Nokia Oyj (NOK1V.HE), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and others could now be resolved instead through negotiation.”

via India’s Vodafone decision eases tax worries for Shell, others | Reuters.

02/04/2014

India’s Greatest Hits: A List of Foreign Firms Grappling With the Government – India Real Time – WSJ

When India’s top court Wednesday ordered Samsung Electronics Co.005930.SE +1.34%’s chairman to appear in person to face criminal charges, it was par for the legal course here.

Judges and other authorities in India have been cracking down on international firms in recent years, making some executives wary of investing in Asia’s third-largest economy.

Many of the best-known global names that have made the biggest bets on India are facing massive tax claims and other actions.

Here is a short list of some of the international companies – which together have invested billions in India – and are now stuck in high-profile battles with authorities:

*Samsung Electronics Co.– India’s Supreme Court ordered Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee to come to India within six weeks to face criminal charges in the city of Ghaziabad or risk arrest. The order was in connection to a four-year-old case in which an Indian supplier claims a Samsung subsidiary failed to pay bills totaling more than $1 million. Samsung said its chairman has nothing to do with the case in which it claims Samsung is the victim of fraud.

*Vodafone Group PLC–The British telecommunications giant has been struggling for years to avoid paying a $2 billion-plus tax bill connected to its 2007 purchase of a 67% stake in the Indian operations of Hutchison Whampoa Ltd.0013.HK +0.48% Vodafone fought the government in court and won In 2012. Soon after, however, New Delhi retroactively changed its laws to allow it to tax the transaction. Vodafone maintains that it does not owe the money and says it is in discussions with the government.

*Nokia Corp.—Indian tax authorities say the Finnish phone company claimed a wrongful exemption on exports and owes billions of dollars in allegedly unpaid taxes. NokiaNOK1V.HE +1.19% denies it owes the tax bill, but the Supreme Court of India said the company has to pay the taxes before its Indian assets can be transferred to Microsoft Corp.MSFT +1.04% as part of its $7.5 billion acquisition of Nokia’s businesses.

*Google Inc.–Internet giant GoogleGOOG +1.80% is being investigated for allegedly anti-competitive policies related to its advertising and search businesses. Last month, India’s antitrust body imposed a 10 million rupee penalty on the Internet search leader, to punish it for failing to cooperate with its probe. Google said last week that it is compliant with Indian law and cooperating with the investigation.

International Business Machines Corp.IBM +1.03%—India last year asked IBM to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in back taxes left over from alleged underreported income. IBM said it is challenging the tax bill.

*Sahara Group—The property-to-media conglomerate is not a foreign firm, but still a telling tale for any international executive thinking of ignoring Indian courts. The group’s flamboyant founder, Subrata Roy, was jailed after failing to show up at hearings connected to a case where his group is accused of allegedly failing to return money to bond holders. Sahara said it is trying to raise the money to pay back investors and has asked that its chairman be released to help it come up with the money

via India’s Greatest Hits: A List of Foreign Firms Grappling With the Government – India Real Time – WSJ.

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31/12/2013

Tesco and Vodafone cleared to invest billions in India – Telegraph

An Indian panel has cleared investment plans by Tesco and Vodafone worth more than $1.5bn, as foreign firms show new interest in the country since New Delhi eased barriers to foreign capital.

Sadia Boudries, a Tesco employee poses for a photograph at a Tesco supermarket in London, UK

The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) sanctioned a proposal by Vodafone, the world\’s biggest mobile phone company, to buy its joint venture partners\’ stakes in its Indian arm for 101bn rupees (£1bn).

Tesco, the world\’s third-largest retailer, had applied to the board for permission to invest an initial $110m (£66.6m) in the Tata conglomerate\’s retail business Trent Hypermarket.

\”The board gave permission to Tesco and to Vodafone. Now the applications must go to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs,\” a senior foreign investment panel official told AFP on condition he was not named.

The move by Vodafone to buy out its partners comes after India opened the telecom sector to 100pc foreign ownership five months ago and comes despite a bitter tax row with the Indian government over its Indian investment that is under conciliation.

Before that, foreign ownership in phone firms was capped at 74pc.

New Delhi moved last August to open up its large and potentially lucrative retail sector to foreign companies to try to boost the slowing economy.

via Tesco and Vodafone cleared to invest billions in India – Telegraph.

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