Telenor makes preparations to leave India

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 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 Their spectrum licences have now been revoked by Indian Supreme Court and Telenor is attempting to exit the JV, but the two have been told by India’s Company Law Board (CLB) to refer their dispute over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.


  1. Avatar Augustine Vaz 30/04/2012 @ 2:43 pm

    The Indian Government and the Regulatory Authority seem to be losing the plot. One is driven by sheer self-defeating internal politics and the other by a pre-historic ‘I am the master’ attitude. The suffering community – customers who will be left with lesser choice and investors who have invested billions but can’t see a return for a dime. Governments and regulatory bodies cannot continue adopting ostrich atttitude while formulating policies which make investors difficult to invest.

  2. Avatar Lin Chin 30/04/2012 @ 11:35 pm

    I think its their time now to book some profits. Whatever you say, no one can ignore BR&IC (BRIC). Not sure if it does really matter to the end user when 1 out of 10 operator goes. Someone else will come.. and they know that.

  3. Avatar Anand 12/05/2012 @ 3:31 pm

    The main issue with Telenor is that whether they made underhand payments to ge the licenses. If they did, then they fully deserve the SC ruling. Foreign investors should be held just as guilty of bribing government to get business favors. They are not saints either (Enron comes to mind) and should be taught a lesson as a deterent to future investments. However, if Telenor played straight then they should should be shielded from any losses.

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