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Vodafone Idea likely to miss December deadline to raise funds: Report

The delay in plans to raise fresh funds is crippling the telco's plan to launch its 5G services

Vodafone Idea

BS Web Team New Delhi

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As it fails to finalise a deal with investors, Vodafone Idea (Vi) is likely to miss the December deadline to raise fresh funds, The Economic Times (ET) reported. However, it is in talks with the Export-Import Bank (Exim) of the US to raise capital for procuring equipment for its 5G network.

The delay in plans to raise fresh funds is crippling the telco's plan to launch its 5G services. Earlier, Vi had announced that it is aiming to raise up to Rs 20,000 crore from a mix of debt and equity. Notably, Vi is the only private telco in India to roll out its 5G network.

According to the latest data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), Vi has been experiencing significant customer attrition for the past 18 months. The company lost 49,782 users in August.

Trai data further revealed that 12.67 million subscribers had submitted requests for Mobile Number Portability (MNP) in August, up from 11.7 million subscribers in July, signalling a sustained trend of Vi users migrating to other operators.

The latest ET report said that Vi has been holding trials with US-based Mavenir for a 5G network based on Open-RAN trials for some telecom circles. It may soon sign a deal for equipment supply.

Under O-RAN, telcos can disaggregate hardware and software, allowing vendor interoperability and reduction of the network cost. However, many experts believe the technology is still premature.

"Open-RAN (O-RAN) trials with the US companies are being explored with an eye on deployment in the future. Funding is completely independent, and delinked to the above," a Vi spokesperson was quoted as saying in the report.

Vi's competitors, Jio and Airtel, continue to go with traditional network vendors like Nokia, Samsung and Ericsson for traditional RAN. 

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First Published: Nov 28 2023 | 11:16 AM IST

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