FM asks Telenor to participate in 2G auction, assures speedy process

Telecom Lead India: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has
promised early completion of the 2G spectrum auction, and asked Norwegian
telecom major Telenor to participate in the auction process.  He also
assured that the government will try to finish the process at the earliest even
though it takes 400 days.

“We discussed the new airwave auction procedure. We
hope that the government can secure newcomers in the auction. Our concern is
that Uninor can continue operations in India,” Trond Giske,
Norwegian Trade and Industry Minister.

During his meeting with a business delegation led by
Norwegian Trade and Industry Minister Trond Giske, Mukherjee told that the
government was acting as per the directions of the Supreme Court in the 2G
case, which had scrapped all 122 licenses for 2G spectrum granted in 2008.

“We came to India to work for. We are on the way to
do that. It (Supreme Court judgment) came in as a big surprise. Now we have to
work through all these surprises…our primary concern is to be able to run and
continue operation,” said Jon Fredrik Baksaas, CEO of Telenor.

Baksaas said the auction process should be conducted in
such a way so that the companies seeking fresh licences are not at a

Norwegian telecom firm Telenor, which operates in India under the brand name Uninor, has lost all its
licences following the Supreme Court’s order to the Indian government to cancel
all 122 licences issued in 2008.

Giske and Baksaas also met industry minister Anand Sharma
and raised concerns on the issue.

Norway has said India must ensure that there is
alignment between withdrawal of 2G telecom licences and fresh spectrum
auctions, batting for Oslo-based telecom player Telenor.

Norwegian government holds 54 percent stake in
Telenor, which owns 67.25 percent in Unitech Wireless that has telecom
operations in India under the Uninor brand.

2G spectrum: Telenor claims damages of $14 billion from India

Recently, Telenor served a notice on the government,
threatening international arbitration and claiming damages of nearly $14
billion. However, the Indian government replied to the notice from Telenor,
seeking damages and said that the legality of the notice could be examined
within the parameters of Indian law.


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