May quit India,says Telenor CEO day after 2G verdict

Telenor and Sistema hold majority stake in Uninor and Sistema-Shyam.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: February 3, 2012 9:41 pm

A DAY after the Supreme Court’s 2G verdict,foreign telecom giants Telenor of Norway and Sistema of Russia said they would take legal measures. Telenor president and CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas said quitting India “is an alternative on the table”.

Telenor and Sistema hold majority stake in Uninor and Sistema-Shyam (which offers services under the MTS brand) respectively. Uninor’s 22 and Sistema-Shyam’s 21 licences have been cancelled.

“Uninor operations are continuing. Our intention is to fight to protect our lawful investments. We are looking to the government to arrive at a fair solution. We expect that the intention remains of bringing new competition,” Telenor Group,which has an exposure of over Rs 14,000 crore in Indian services,said in a statement. Uninor is estimated to have at least 36.3 million subscribers.

“The ruling is a very serious attack on our investments,(which are) based on the licence framework that was spelt out in 2008,” the Telenor CEO told Reuters in Oslo. “We met every inch of that regulation… just to see a ruling that has significant consequences. It is an action that we have never seen in any country before.”

Baksaas said that they could quit the country now and not wait for new market rules.

Sistema,which says it has pumped in Rs 12,500 crore and has over 15 million subscribers,said,“it will contest the order (through) all available legal remedies”. —with Agencies

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