According to the Economic Times, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular paid INR 73 billion ($1 billion) in a combination of cash and bank guarantees to the country’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in order to clear the last major obstacle related to the pair’s delayed merger.
The deal has passed its original deadline fixed at the end of June and has already been cleared by every other relevant authority. In July, the DoT temporarily gave their approval under the condition that Vodafone and Idea Cellular pay more than INR 71 billion in fees alongside abiding to a number of other minor terms.
The fees relate to spectrum acquisition costs, with Vodafone's share of INR 39 billion to settle a long-standing dispute and INR 33 million from Idea Cellular as a bank guarantee for other spectrum costs.
Even though the combined companies have paid the costs under protest, they have retrained the right to challenge the charges through the courts at a later date.
The DoT is now expected to grant permission for the transaction as soon as possible, which would create a new market leader by connections, overtaking Bharti Airtel.
The new entity will trade under the name Vodafone Idea and will have 441 million connections, according to GSMA Intelligence estimates for Q2 2018.