Nordic operator group Telenor has said that it is making plans to exit the Indian telecoms market after the country’s regulator, the TRAI, increased the base price for its 2G spectrum auction.
The operator has previously said that it intends to continue doing business in India, but after the TRAI’s announcement, it has decided to write-down its remaining assets in India.
“If the recommendation from TRAI in its current form should be approved by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), it will be almost impossible to participate in the auction for Telenor,” the firm said in a statement.
“As a precautionary measure, Telenor ASA has decided to write-down the remaining fixed and intangible assets in India amounting to NOK3.9bn ($680m) – NOK2.6bn after non-controlling interests.”
A Telenor spokesperson told Telecoms.com that the operator is still waiting for the government’s final decision on the design of the auction and the firm will not make a final decision until this has been set.
The write-down will be included in Telenor’s results for the first quarter 2012, which will be presented on 8 May 2012. After the write-down, Telenor has no further accounting exposure related to India as of 31 March 2012.
Telenor had been operating in India as part of a joint-venture with local real estate firm Unitech, called Uninor. Their spectrum licences have now been revoked by Indian Supreme Court and Telenor is attempting to exit the JV, but the two have been told by India’s Company Law Board (CLB) to refer their dispute over their joint venture, Uninor, for arbitration in Singapore.