Augere Wireless to quit India

Sanjiv Ahuja’s emerging markets project, Augere Wireless is set to exit the Indian market due to regulatory uncertainty. The WiMAX firm will sell the 4G spectrum licences it holds in the two states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, according to local press.

A report by the Economic Times of India cited two company executives who said the firm had asked employees in the country to resign. In the meantime, CEO Lars Henrick Stork is said to have stopped all operational activities in India and has asked all employees in India to go on leave.

The company had won airwaves for Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in 2010 and became the first 4G player in India to award an equipment contract in 2011, when it appointed Ericsson to roll out its network.

Augere Wireless’ executive management team have had a tough time of getting wireless services off the ground in markets due to regulatory concerns. The firm was set up by ex-Orange CEO Sanjiv Ahuja in 2007, who then went on to briefly become CEO at US satellite carrier LightSquared before resigning in February this year. However, he still remains executive chairman at Augere.

LightSquared’s  executive vice president Martin Harriman is also director at Augere, but the US carrier has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection amid efforts to resolve regulatory issues that have prevented it from launching its satellite service.

Augere was established with the mission statement of providing “Broadband for Everyone” and also currently has access to spectrum in Pakistan, Bangladesh Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.

It is not the only 4G spectrum holder player considering exiting the Indian market, Qualcomm is also rumoured to be in advanced talks with Bharti Airtel to sell its 4G permits in the four circles where it won spectrum in 2010. Bharti recently launched the country’s first LTE service in Kolkata. However, due to a shortage of LTE devices in the Indian market, subscribers will initially only be able to access the network through dongles. attempted to reach Augere Wireless for confirmation of its plans, but could not receive comment at the time of publishing.

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