Monday, February 6, 2012

2G auction should be among 2008 licencees: Uninor

Telecom firm Uninor, that lost all its 22 licences following the Supreme Court's verdict last week, Monday proposed that only those players who got licences in 2008 should be invited for auction.

The firm said it would decide to bid after reviewing various criteria, including the reserve price for spectrum. It also said the Norwegian government will speak to Indian officials on Uninor losing its licences.

"The auction needs to be among the new players involving parties who were in 2008," Sigve Brekke, managing director of Uninor and member of the Telenor Group executive management as head of the Telenor Asia operations, told reporters here.

"Last time it was very clear that the policy of the government was to increase competition, so the (then) incumbents were not invited. This time it needs to be in the same spirit, the incumbents should not be invited," he added.

On bidding for the spectrum, Brekke said: "That is way too early to say. First we need to see what their bidding criteria would be, what their reserve price would be. Intention is definitely to continue. In principle, we are definitely looking to bid in the auction."

"We are here to continue to fight and continue to win and not running away," he added.

Brekke said the company would fight for securing its investments and customers.

"If you ask me whether I am angry and upset, the answer is yes. I am angry and upset, because it's very clear that we are unfairly harmed. We are not to be blamed for something that happened in the past.

"We are trying to work on all the different tools we have, of course also working on legal options. It's possible to sit down and talk and we have started talks with both the government and the regulator," he added.

Brekke said the Norwegian prime minister has also written to his Indian counterpart. The information technology minister of Norway, who is in India for a week, will be meeting the government as well.

Brekke said the company's operations were in full swing but he was upset with rumours about closure of its services, allegedly circulated by competitors.

"The signs from competitors are unethical," Brekke said, adding that they will soon come out with new advertisements.

On the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) pre-consultation paper on 2G auction, Brekke said the company would submit its views by the end of this week.

Uninor, a joint venture between Norway's Telenor and India's Unitech, currently has close to 40 million customers in India.


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