Telenor

Jon Fredrik Baksaas, chief executive of Telenor, Norway’s biggest telecoms group, talks to the FT’s Richard Milne about emerging market worries and EU regulation.

India’s Telecom Commission, a high level committee charged with formulating telecoms policy, has approved a proposal to increase the limit on foreign direct investment into mobile phone services to 100 per cent from a current level of 74 per cent. The proposed change would make it possible for service providers such as UK-based Vodafone and Russia’s Sistema, which operate in India with local partners, to buy those partners out.

But if other recent changes to rules on FDI are any guide, investment will not flood in overnight. Continue reading »

The decision by Myanmar’s government to award two fiercely contested national mobile communications licenses to Qatar’s Ooredoo and Norway’s Telenor Mobile Communications on Thursday raised as many questions as answers among Yangon-based analysts – not least due to an eleventh-hour effort by the country’s parliament to block news of the winning bids.

At the same time, conclusion of the contest reassured a growing number of investors eyeing Myanmar that the country is capable of conducting a transparent, fair and efficient public tender. Continue reading »

You think of a rickshaw driver as someone who ferries you from place to place, right? And the newspaper delivery man is simply the chap who brings you the morning rag. Think again.

Uninor, the Indian arm of Norwegian telecom Telenor, has become the first company to use tuktuk drivers to reach its customers. Newspaper delivery-wallas and milkmen will be next. Continue reading »

Subscribers to Bangladeshi mobile operator, Grameenphone, can breathe easy: Dhaka has no plans to suspend the company’s license – or its services. But Grameenphone’s owner, Telenor, still has cause for concern: Bangladesh’s government has not ruled out trying to force the Norwegian company to cede control of the lucrative venture. Continue reading »

Norway’s Telenor emerged on Wednesday as the biggest buyer in India’s controversial mobile telecom spectrum auctionContinue reading »

Telenor has settled $1.76bn in loans of its Indian joint venture, Uninor – co-owned with real estate developer Unitech – in a sign that the Norwegian company is serious about staying in India despite sky-high 2G spectrum prices. Continue reading »

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 FebruaryContinue reading »

Another day, another delay in the organisation of the upcoming 2G spectrum auction in India – a consequence of the corruption-plagued auction of 2008 that led to the jailing of the then-telecoms minister and the revocation of 122 spectrum licences.

On Monday, Sharad Pawar, farm minister, became the latest politician to throw a wrench into the political machine:  he resigned from heading the so-called “empowered group of ministers” that has been convened in order to determine the base rates at which the spectrum is to be auctioned. Continue reading »

The doors are closing for the companies embroiled in India’s $39bn telecoms scandal.

India’s Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to review its order revoking the licences of 11 groups issued by jailed ex-minister A Raja in the multibillion-dollar 2G spectrum auction scam.

From June 2, domestic companies including Idea and Tata Teleservices and foreign companies such as Russia’s Sistema and Norway’s Telenor will have to cease operating 122 licences. Little recourse is left for domestic companies, but Sistema and Telenor can use diplomatic channels to lobby for some redress. Continue reading »

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. Continue reading »