Telenor proposal to up stake in Unitech gets security clearance: reports

According to media reports Swedish mobile services provider Telenor is set to receive security clearance to increase its stake in Unitech Wireless to the legal maximum of 74 per cent.

The clearance, however, carries the condition barring employees from Telenor's Pakistan subsidiary from working with the Indian company.

Though Telenor is also a major shareholder in Bagladesh's Grameenphone, this is not considered a significant security risk.

According to the reports, the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) had already cleared the investment but delayed its decision pending a review of the security aspect.

The security concerns are expected to be adequately addressed by keeping the human assets of the Indian and Pakistani arms of Telenor separate. Under the plan Telenor employees who have at any time worked in Pakistan will be barred from working in India.

The FIPB is expected to finally clear the proposal in its next meeting after getting a recommendation from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Telenor is also reportedly in talks with China Mobile about selling its Pakistan subsidiary to the Chinese firm. These reports are however not confirmed.

Unitech Wireless has telecom licensing for operations across India's 22 telecom circles and has plans to launch its services in mid 2009.