Vodafone chief Vittorio Colao meets Sibal

February 13th, 2012 - 7:57 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 13 (IANS) Vittorio Colao, chief executive of the world’s largest mobile telephone operator, Vodafone Plc, met Communications Minister Kapil Sibal here Monday and is understood to have discussed the possible implications of the Supreme Court verdict cancelling 122 2G licences on the industry.

Colao was accompanied by Analjit Singh, the newly-appointed non-executive chairman of Vodafone India.

The Indian arm of the firm has not been affected by the apex court’s order. But there is talk in the industry and the legal circle that licences issued in 2001 could also come under the scanner as the first-come, first-serve policy also existed at that time.

The apex court in its ruling had found the first-come, first-serve policy flawed.

Calao’s India trip is also significant on two other counts.
The telcom department is mulling a new pricing formula for spectrum allocation. The telecom commission has suggested that the operators should be asked to pay for spectrum above 4.4 megahertz.

Operators have been opposing the levying of charges with retrospective effect saying that it was not there in the earlier licence conditions.

Colao, who is ostensibly in India to participate in the regional meeting of Vodafone in Mumbai, is visiting the country for the first time after the Supreme Court last month set aside a Bombay High Court’s order directing Vodafone to pay a tax of Rs.11,218 crore ($2.5 billion) for acquiring the operations of Hutch Essar in 2007.

Vodafone posted a 6.3 per cent growth in its India business in the third fiscal quarter and is eying an India listing.

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