[qi:83] In a scene right out of a Bollywood potboiler, Vodafone’s (VOD) mobile partner in India, The Essar Group, are making moves that has the global wireless giant steaming mad. Hutchinson Whampoa sold 67% interest in Hutch India to Vodafone for about $13.7 billion earlier this year. The Essar Group owns 33% of Vodafone Essar.
The Essar Group has asked the Indian government to give its BPL Mobile division, permission to expand to lucrative Bombay and 20 other regions, where well it will compete with Vodafone and others. The application for expansion has come from Shippingstop.com, a company that is 51.24% owned by BPL Mobile. Rest is owned by BPL Communications, which is a holding company of BPL Mobile.
The Ruia family-run Essar dismissed the idea saying the law only bars a stake of more than 10% in two companies in the same licensed area. ‘We have a 33% stake in Vodafone Essar and only a 9.9% stake in (BPL Mobile). So where does the violation arise?’ said Essar spokesman Manish Kedia. (Telegeography)
Vodafone for now is keeping mum, though there is no way it can be happy with this situation.