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Updated: Telenor Allowed To Acquire 74% In Uninor; Conditions?

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Update: According to the press release issued by the government (details below), the approval is subject to certain conditions put forth by India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board. We’ve requested Uninor for details of these conditions, and will update when we have more information.

Earlier: Uninor, the telecom operator earlier known as Unitech Wireless, has received an approval from India’s Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs to raise its foreign holding to upto 74 percent from Norwegian telecom operator Telenor. Stein-Erik Vellan, MD, Unitech Wireless, in a press statement, has said obviously welcomed the move, adding that “We are currently focused and on-track to launch our services in the country by the end of this year”

The approval comes at an opportune moment for Telenor, just 10 days shy of its Q3 Results announcement, and around a month and a half prior to its expected launch of services in India.

Telenor currently owns 49 percent in Unitech Wireless, and has plans to increase its holding in Uninor to 67.5 percent by investing NOK 6.4 billion in the company. This deal was referred by India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to the countrys Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, on the basis that the investment is over $600 million. However, there could also have been security concerns over Telenors investments in telecom in Pakistan and Bangladesh (in GrameenPhone). The basis for this approval is not yet known, and we’ll update when we have more.

Meanwhile, read more on Uninor’s rollout plans here. We’ll have more updates on rollout plans later this month.

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Update: A press release from the Indian government reads as follows:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs today gave its approval to M/s. Unitech Wireless (Tamilnadu) Private Limited to enhance foreign shareholding by M/s. Telenor Asia Pte. Ltd., Singapore such that it may have direct and indirect foreign shareholding up to 74% (initially to 67.25%) with a foreign direct investment up to Rs.3740.00 crore in each of the Licensee companies viz., Unitech Wireless (Tamilnadu) Private Limited; Unitech Wireless (North) Private Limited; Unitech Wireless (South) Private Limited; Unitech Wireless (Kolkata) Private Limited; Unitech Wireless (Delhi) Private Limited; Unitech Wireless (East) Private Limited; Unitech Wireless (Mumbai) Private Limited; Unitech Wireless (West) Private Limited. This is subject to the conditions recommended by FIPB.

The approval would result in FDI amounting to Rs.3740.00 crore in the country.

Related:

— Live: Telenor-Unitech Not Keen on 3G Services In India
Unitech Wireless Rebrands As Uninor; Operational Hubs, Challenges
-– Q2-09 Call: Unitech Wireless Plans 5 Circle Launch In Q4; Competition, Timing, Free Minutes
— Telenor Recruiting For India Launch, Expecting NOK 2-2.5B EBITDA Loss

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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