India’s under-pressure telecom firms hit with $13bn bill

MUMBAI: India’s beleaguered telecom companies were dealt a blow on Friday after being told to pay a whopping $13 billion bill, though boosting Asia’s richest tycoon Mukesh Ambani who has shaken up the sector with his low-cost deals.

After a two-decade legal wrangle, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that telecom firms had to pay a combined 920bn rupees ($13bn) in past spectrum and licensing fees.

British giant Vodafone’s loss-making and indebted joint venture with local firm Idea was the biggest loser, being told to cough up $4bn, Bloomberg News reported.

Vodafone’s Mumbai-listed shares slumped more than 16 per cent when the markets opened, before recovering slightly.

 

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