We will paint town red: Vodafone’s Sarin


Mumbai : After placing the ever-famous pug cosily inside a new red doghouse in its latest advertisement blitz for a new branding in India, Britain-based global telecom giant Vodafone is all geared to “paint the town red”.

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“We are delighted with the way the entire brand launch has been happening and we are going to paint the town red,” the group’s Indian-born chief executive Arun Sarin told reporters here after its Indian joint venture’s board meeting.

“We will bring wonderful, affordable handsets and great services,” said Sarin, whose group acquired the stake in Hutch-Essar Indian telecom venture from the Hong Kong-based Hutchison International in May this year for $11.1 billion.

On the issue of the tax department serving the company a show-cause notice and slapping a $2 billion capital gain tax claim on the company, Sarin said: “Usually taxes are paid by the seller”.

He also said neither Vodafone nor its Indian partner Essar, which holds a 33-percent stake in the venture, was liable to pay the taxes.

Highlighting the already hyped-up issue of the growing spectrum demand among telecom operators, Sarin added: “We are working with Essar on the issue. We are looking to get more spectrum and will discuss the issue with the Department of Telecommunications.”

The company earlier said it would be investing $2 billion in consolidating and expanding its business here, with a special focus on expanding its network in rural areas.

Vodafone Essar, India’s second largest mobile service operator after Airtel, has a subscriber base of 34.11 million and a market share of 20.11 percent as on Aug 31, 2007, according to data released by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).