Indian telecom industry in a mess, says Vodafone chief Pieters

12 September 2014

The India chief of telecom services major Vodafone said on Thursday that it is difficult for foreign companies to do business in the country because of slower government clearances and other issues.

''The telecom industry, if you look at it from international perspective, is a mess in India ... and it seems to come from this concept which has been developed in the past that the more competition, the better,'' said Vodafone India's chief executive officer and managing director Marten Pieters.

He said the company had sought government approval in December last year to bring in funds from the parent company to buy spectrum, but the clearance is still awaited.

''Yes, it is difficult to do business in India ... that's the general perception I think of foreign companies and that is not just in telecom,'' Pieters said while speaking at the Economist India Summit in New Delhi.

He added that the process of doing business in India can be made easier just by removing a few impediments.

Vodafone, the world's second-largest telecom service provider, is facing taxation issues in India that could potentially be very expensive. It has been slapped with retrospective capital gains tax, which with penalties and interest could be as high as Rs20,000 crore, after it acquired the telecom assets of an Indian company in 2007, which is now under international arbitration.

''We note the finance minister's announcement that existing cases arising from the 2012 retrospective tax law should follow the lawful process in which they are currently being adjudicated,'' the company had earlier said in a statement after finance minister Arun Jaitley's maiden budget speech.

 search domain-b