Indian Mobile Operator CEO in 2012: Telenor’s Sigve Brekke

Telecom Lead Asia: To protect current business and enhance its market share from 4.54 percent (as per TRAI’s report for October 2012), Telenor has decided to stay in India, despite regulatory uncertainties.

Sigve Brekke, managing director of Uninor

Telenor, which dialed India with huge expectations, is pinning its hopes on possible alliances with other Indian telecom players.

Though the current year has brought out more clarity to telecom stakeholders, for Uninor 2012 was a mixed year — lots of achievements and some setbacks.

Its main achievement was its ability to grab 4.54 percent market share though it started losing mobile users due to the February 2012 Supreme Court order.

Telenor’s second milestone was its final decision to snap ties with Unitech and associate with another unknown player in telecom field before buying 2G spectrum. Several industry pundits speculated that Telenor will not be able to find a partner in India given the nature of the regulatory issues that affected its business in the country.

Interestingly, Telenor strengthened its association with Sigve Brekke, managing director of Uninor during the crisis period. He cheerfully guided the company during 2G controversy and 2G auctions. His strategies will be focused more on profitability of six circles that the company won during the spectrum auction in November 2012.

Sigve Brekke was one of the few CEOs in India who realized that India is a 2G driven market. Uninor in 2010 did not bid for 3G and BWA (which is used by Airtel and Reliance Industries (RIL) to launch TD-LTE services) licenses.

Telenor can now launch 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services in 6 circles of UP East, UP West, Bihar (including Jharkhand), Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra (including Goa) where it recently secured fresh licenses and spectrum for the next 20 years.

It is also looking at Mumbai, where it unleashed mobile tariff war, for buying spectrum.

READ MORE: Uninor’s mobile tariff war

Recently, Sigve Brekke, managing director of Uninor, said: “Our priority in these 6 circles is to seamlessly transfer the Uninor business to the new company that has licenses to offer telecommunication services for 20 more years. In these circles, Uninor is stronger than before and more eager than ever. We will be a tough competitor and continue to be sabse sasta for all our customers while we achieve our break-even in each of these circles.

This month, Uninor reached break-even in our first circle UP East, within 35 months of launch. In the next 12 months, all of Uninor will break-even and become profitable. Its plan is to make this financially one of the strongest mobile operations in India.

Sigve Brekke is the delight of shareholders of Telenor. We are sure that Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Aircel, Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications, MTS India and Tata Teleservices do not want him to stay with Telenor due to obvious reasons.

Note:’s editors have selected the CEO based on the impact he created on the industry and the company.

Krishna Aravind
[email protected]