Unitech, which is expected to finalize a partner for its telecom venture Unitech Wireless by the end of this month, is reportedly close to inking a deal with Norwegian telecom operator Telenor. The Economic Times reports that Telenor is close to picking up 26 percent in Unitech Wireless for $500 million, thus valuing the company, post money, at $2 Billion.
Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra has said that they’ve not closed any deals yet. Unitech Wireless has a license to operate in all 22 circles, has received spectrum for six circles, and is expected to roll out its services next year. According to ET, Telenor is the only one left in the race for the Unitech stake, after Telecom Italia valued it too low, and the deal with a South Asian telco didn’t work out. Details here. Loop Tele was also reportedly in talks with Telenor.
Telenor is also in the news over an issue related to its GrameenPhone operations in Bangladesh. Telenor owns 62 percent stake in GrameenPhone, while Mohammed Younus’ Grameen Telecom owns the rest. Bangladesh’ telecom regulator has fined Grameenphone a total of Tk 418 Crore for its involvement in illegal international call termination business through voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology, and GrameenTelecom has refused to share the burden. Telenor also has operations in Pakistan.
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Do also see our New Telcos section.