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We are now Vi, India’s Vodafone Idea tells customers

Vi Vodafone Idea.jpg

Days after India’s Vodafone Idea won the right to pay off its US$7 billion tax bill over 10 years, the company announced a rebrand.

The company announced today that its existing brands, Vodafone and Idea, will now be Vi – pronounced “we”.

Nick Read, CEO of the UK-based Vodafone Group, which owns 45% of Vi, said: “As the integration of the businesses is now complete, it’s time for a fresh start.”

Vi will provide 2G, 3G and 4G services, said Read.

Ravider Takkar, CEO and managing director of Vi, said: “Vodafone Idea came together as a merged entity two years ago. We have, since then, focused on integrating two large networks, our people and processes.”

He added:  “The brand integration not only marks the completion of the largest telecom merger in the world, but also sets us on our future journey to offer world class digital experiences to one billion Indians on our strong 4G network.”

Neither Read nor Takkar mentioned the legal and financial threat to the company’s existence that was only settled until last week.

Vodafone Idea and rival company Bharti Airtel as well as Reliance Jio owe $13 billion between them in adjusted gross revenue (AGR), a way that the Indian government devised to recalculate tax the telecoms business. The government wanted them to pay in weeks, and both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea said that would threaten their existence.

The companies lost repeated attempts to waive or reduce the bill, and last week won a compromise when the Supreme Court of India said they could pay over 10 years – less than the 15 years they asked for.

Vodafone Idea has to pay its first 10% installment at the end of March 2021.

Vodafone Idea lawyer Mukul Rohatgi told Indian TV: “Ten is not bad; suppose the court had given us two years. That would have been a disaster situation.”

The company will raise its prices, Takkar said at a press briefing this morning.

Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of the Aditya Birla group, the owner of Idea before the merger and now the major shareholder alongside Vodafone, said: “Both Vodafone and Idea have set new benchmarks in network experience, rural connectivity, customer service, enterprise mobility solutions and many more.”

 

 

 

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