Voda Idea AGM: Shareholders question telco’s IPL and rebranding spends

Mumbai: Vodafone Idea management came under fire at the company’s annual general meeting on Wednesday. It was questioned on its marketing and rebranding spend, particularly the amount spent on the ongoing IPL cricket series, when it is already reeling under debt.

The telecom major recently boosted its marketing spend after it rebranded itself as Vi on September 7. It is also the co-presenting sponsor of the Dream11 IPL 2020, which kickstarted on September 19.

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Meanwhile, MD and CEO Ravinder Takkar said the board had approved additional fund raising and Rs 15,000 crore debt funding and potentially another Rs 15,000 crore equity funding.

“The total of those two or a combination has to be around Rs 25,000 crore. The business plan that we have put together for the company is sufficient for us to be able to continue network expansion and compete effectively in the marketplace. We are positive,” he told shareholders during the 25th AGM, which was conducted virtually in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He also said the telecom major will be able to launch 5G whenever spectrum is made available through auction.

“Our network is very much 5G-ready. When the 5G auction takes place, we will be able to launch 5G. However, there is a need to develop India 5G use cases. India is unique and some global use cases might not be relevant,” Takkar said during the AGM.

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He said that the company is working out the details with the telecom department on the 5G use cases and how trials will be conducted.

“Very soon we will get a 5G trial spectrum. We will be testing use cases that we have shared with the government,” he said.

In reaction, Vodafone Idea shares dropped 2.55 per cent and closed at Rs 9.56 per share, while Sensex edged up 0.3 per cent to close at 38,068.



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