Vodafone Idea (Vi) plans to launch a follow-on public offering (FPO) to raise 180 billion rupees ($2.16 billion) later this month through a sale of new shares.

The FPO will be open for public bids between April 18-April 22.

Vodafone Idea
Vodafone Idea is launching an FPO – Getty Images

The FPO, announced on Friday, is set to be the biggest ever in India, surpassing the 150 billion rupee share sale by Yes Bank back in 2020.

Reuters has reported that the FPO has attracted the interest of investment firm GQG Partners and State Bank of India Mutual Fund. The news agency said the pair are considering investing up to $800 million in total.

Vi said it plans to use the equity and debt funding to roll out its 5G network service within six to seven months of securing the funds and expand its 4G coverage, something Vi CEO Akshaya Moondra said during an earnings call in January.

The telco has fallen well behind in the 5G race, lagging domestic rivals Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, who both launched the service in 2022.

Cash-strapped Vi has debts of around 2.15 trillion rupees ($25.7bn) and lost close to 20 million subscribers last year.

The company, which was created in 2018 following the merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, has struggled for some time, with the debt-laden operator struggling to pay its dues with its vendor partners after it was saved from the brink of collapse by the Indian government in 2022, which acquired a 35.8 percent stake in the company.

Last month, Mavenir Telecom said it expects to sign a contract with Indian telco Vodafone Idea (Vi) for the deployment of its 5G network this year.