Telenor in talks with potential Indian partners: Reuters

Telenor’s chief executive says he is in talks with several potential new partners in India, according to Reuters.

“There are talks in many directions, I can assure you, and many who wish to speak to us as well,” Jon Fredrik Baksaas told Reuters at the operator’s capital markets event.

“There is not really anything concrete to say about this yet, but … we wish to go further in India provided that the framework at last will be in place, and that we also can see a profitability developing on a new investment in India,” he is reported to have said.

Telenor’s chief executive says he is in talks with several potential new partners in India, according to Reuters.

“There are talks in many directions, I can assure you, and many who wish to speak to us as well,” Jon Fredrik Baksaas told Reuters at the operator’s capital markets event.

“There is not really anything concrete to say about this yet, but … we wish to go further in India provided that the framework at last will be in place, and that we also can see a profitability developing on a new investment in India,” he is reported to have said.

The operator was one of a number affected earlier this year by an Indian court’s cancellation of 122 telecoms licenses awarded in 2008.

Telenor (Fornebu, Norway) went into partnership that year with an Indian real-estate company called Unitech (Gurgaon, India), which had won some of the concessions that have recently been revoked.

The partnership launched services under the Uninor brand and had signed up around 45.5 million users, or 5% of the Indian market, by the end of June 2012.

Over that period, Telenor has invested around $2.4 billion in the business.

Uninor’s existence, however, has been under threat ever since India’s Supreme Court cancelled the licenses it uses to provide services, citing irregularities in the auction process of 2008.

Telenor and Unitech have fallen out as a result of these difficulties, and the Norwegian company, which owns 67% of Uninor, wants to find a new partner to replace Unitech.

Before that can happen, Uninor would have to win back its licenses in a forthcoming re-auction of spectrum.

That process is scheduled to take place on November 12, with Indian authorities set to confirm a final framework for the re-auction on September 12.

Baksaas has also told Dow Jones Newswires that Telenor will make a final decision on its participation in the re-auction by October 18, the deadline for registrations.