More reports on: Unitech group, Telecom
Telenor scouts for new partner; awaits clarity on 2G auction news
20 February 2012

Norwegian telecom company Telenor ASA's future in India will depend on the rules laid down by the government for re-auction of 2G spectrum and a favourable long-term regulatory environment, Telenor Asia head and Uninor managing director Sigve Brekke told the media on Sunday.

Telenor also said it is likely to claim the cost of losing Indian telecom licences from its partner Unitech, from whom the company is parting ways. "We have served an indemnity notice (to Unitech). The damages will be the cost we will have to incur as a result of losing the licences," said Brekke.

The Supreme Court this month cancelled telecom 122 licences, including 22 of Uninor, that were granted after January 2008 - the period when the 2G spectrum scam occurred, under jailed former telecom minister Andimuthu Raja (See: SC cancels all 2G licences, orders fresh spectrum auction).

Telenor, which has started the search for a new Indian partner after announcing its proposed split and compensation claim from Unitech, said it will be difficult for the telecom major to go into the re-auction if the broader policy framework is not made clear soon by the Indian government.

The 77:33 Telenor-Unitech joint venture, which operates telecom services under the Uninor brand,  has been heading for the rocks for some time now, with disagreements and confrontations, particularly about the methods of raising funds for the venture.

Telenor wanted to raise Rs8,200 crore through an equity issue, but Uninor insisted on the debt route. The cancellation of the licences has proved the last straw.

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Telenor scouts for new partner; awaits clarity on 2G auction