Telenor : Aims To Stay In India, But Pulling Out An Option If License Issues Unresolved
02/06/2012| 02:10am US/Eastern
Telenor ASA (TEL.OS) Monday warned that it has the option to quit its India business if efforts fail to find a solution to the problems arising from a Supreme Court order cancelling the company's telecom licenses.
But, as of now, Telenor doesn't plan to slow its operations in India, Sigve Brekke, executive vice president and head of Asian operations, told reporters.
"We came here [to India] to win, we came here to stay," Brekke said.
Telenor--which runs a telecom joint venture called Unitech Wireless--is now in talks with India's telecom regulator and the government to decide on the way forward.
All legal options, including filing a petition against the Supreme Court order, are on the table, Brekke said.
Oslo-based Telenor ventured into India in 2008 by acquiring a 67.3% stake in Unitech Wireless for INR60.0 billion.
Unitech Wireless, which was founded by real estate company Unitech Ltd. (507878.BY), had 36.30 million users at the end of December. It provides services under the Uninor brand.
India's Supreme Court last week ordered the cancellation of 122 telecom licenses--including 22 held by Unitech Wireless.
The court said the process used to allocate licenses and bandwidth in 2008 was an "arbitrary and unconstitutional exercise," which facilitated corruption.
The order will become effective after four months.
India's federal probe body, the Central Bureau of Investigation, alleges that the allocation of bandwidth favored some companies and cost the government a potential loss of $7 billion in revenue.
--By R. Jai Krishna, Dow Jones Newswires; +91-9967586928; email@example.com