2G scandal

Watching India set its policy on telecoms auctions is like watching a game of tennis – there’s so much back and forth, you get a sore neck.

Although the country is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing telecoms markets, there were few takers at the last auction for 2G spectrum thanks to the high base price the government set. So what’s the latest volley (to prolong the tennis metaphor…)? Read more

Norway’s Telenor emerged on Wednesday as the biggest buyer in India’s controversial mobile telecom spectrum auctionRead more

It was not exactly a bolt from the blue. In a move that will have surprised nobody, the Indian government is to ask the Supreme Court to give it more time to arrange a repeatedly delayed rerun of its attempt to sell licences allowing telecoms companies to use so-called 2G spectrum. In spite of its predictability, the latest delay could be dire news for those companies, foreign and domestic, whose 122 licenses were cancelled in FebruaryRead more

When is a decision not a decision? When it’s taken in India. That at least seems to be the lesson from the latest meeting of a government committee which sat on Friday to decide the price telecoms companies must pay to participate in the re-auction of the nation’s cancelled 2g telecoms licenses. Read more

After years of staying out of the 2G scandal, the Indian prime minister seems to be taking a keen interest in the 2G spectrum auction. On Monday, local media reported that he would appoint a minister of state from his office to the committee that will decide the rules of the new auction.

So does that mean the proposed prices might be brought down a bit? Read more

The day after India’s telecoms regulator threw the industry into turmoil by announcing sky-high prices for 2G spectrum – at $687m per MHz, 13 times higher than 2008 prices – it was the Supreme Court’s turn.

On Tuesday, the justices ordered the government to hold the 2G auction by August 31 – far sooner than the early-2013 Delhi had requested. Read more

Telecoms have been having a rough couple weeks when it comes to taxes. But Vodafone isn’t alone.

The simmering dispute between Norway’s Telenor and India’s Unitech over their telecom joint venture Uninor took a turn on Wednesday when the income tax department froze the Indian company’s shares in Uninor over a tax claim. Read more

Compared with the embarrassment of the 2008 Indian 2G spectrum auction – which resulted in a scam that is alleged to have deprived the government of $39bn2010’s 3G spectrum auction was a wild, lucrative success for the government and, notably, cleanly run.

With his announcement on Wednesday that the government is intent on launching an auction of 4G spectrum sometime this year, telecoms minister Kapil Sibal seems to be hoping to for something along the lines of the latter, rather than the former. Read more

How are the mighty fallen. When Essar Energy was listed in London in 2010, it was billed as a poster boy for the emergence of Indian capital on to the world’s stage.

On Monday, the shares fell more than 10 per cent on the latest bad news from the company – a 10 per cent drop in 2011 adjusted pre-tax earnings. Having dropped like a stone in the last three months, the stock now trades at 112.6p – 73 per cent below its original 420p offer price. As the chart below shows, that’s some going for a FTSE-100 company – and some advert for investing in India. Read more

In the latest twist in India’s epic, multibillion-dollar 2G telecom scandal, the Supreme Court on Thursday overturned the award of 122 mobile telephone licences granted in 2008 by Andimuthu Raja, the country’s jailed former telecoms minister.

While the move put into jeopardy major investments by 11 companies – including Uninor, Tata Teleservices, Idea, Loop Telecom and Etisalat DB – analysts told beyondbrics that the decision does more than just illustrate the often-fickle nature of doing business in IndiaRead more

Four giants of corporate India have been charged with conspiracy and cheating in relation to their ownership of a stake in Vodafone, in a further twist of the multibillion dollar telecoms scandals that have rocked the subcontinent since early this year.

India’s Central Bureau of Investigation has filed charges against three senior figures at the Essar Group and the head of Loop Mobile. The CBI says it was illegal for Essar to have a controlling stake in Loop while also holding a stake in Vodafone. Read more