The Department of Telecommunications yesterday finally allowed Uninor to transfer its assets to Telenor's new Indian company Telewings, over a year after Telenor bought the unified licence in six circles in the November 2002 auction (See: Telenor wins licences in six circles).
''We can confirm that the new unified licences have been received. This is licence and spectrum for 20 years in the six circles of UP East, UP West, Bihar and Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat,'' said a company statement.
The new company will for now continue to offer services under the Uninor brand name, although Telenor has split with its former Indian partner Unitech.
Telenor has already received the necessary approvals to raise its shareholding in the new company to 74 per cent.
Norway's Telenor had paid Rs4,018 crore in the auction for its licences. Earlier in 2008 (the year of India's infamous 'telecom scam) the company had paid Rs1,658 crore for pan-India licences.
These licences, jointly owned with real estate major Unitech, have been quashed by the Supreme Court along with all the other licences issued on or after 10 January 2008.
Telenor plans to continue operations in six circles under the new entity Telewings, which it had floated as a 100-per cent subsidiary. But it dropped its stake to 49 per cent at the time of taking the new unified licence to comply with India's foreign direct investment (FDI) rules.
Telenor's new Indian partner is Lakshdeep Investments & Finance, a privately held entity controlled by Sudhir Valia, brother-in-law of Sun Pharmaceuticals founder Dilip Shanghvi, is also the executive director of Sun Pharma
The company did not give details on the proposed business transfer from Unitech Wireless to Telewings Communications.