October 27, 2016
Vodafone has requested that the upcoming auction for 3G operating licenses in India be put on hold because of the credit crunch.
The world’s largest private telecoms group is putting pressure on the Indian government to postpone the auction until early 2017 so that it is able to raise adequate funds.
Neil Gough, Vodafone’s director of public policy in emerging markets, said raising funds in the current financial climate is taking longer than anticipated.
At least three other telecoms companies are understood to be seeking a delay to the December auction.
Analysts predict that the Indian government will fall short of its Rs 40,000 target for the auction if it presses ahead with the current time plan.
However, despite the widespread calls for a delay to the auction, the Indian government is unlikely to put it on hold for long, as the country will be going through a General Election in May 2017.
Securing providers for a 3G network would prove popular in Indian voting booths.
When the auction goes ahead a total of five 3G licenses will be issued by the Indian authorities, although two have already been earmarked for state-owned operators.
Competition for the three remaining licenses is likely to be fierce as Russian and Middle Eastern-backed investment conglomerates compete with established telecoms giants.