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Norway, India discuss issue of cancellation and auction of telecom licenses

April 10, 2012 - New Delhi

Norwegian Trade Minister Trond Giske discussed the issue of cancellation and auction of telecom licenses with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee here on Tuesday.

Telenor owns 67.25 percent stake in the Indian telecom joint venture, which operates under the Uninor brand, with the remainder held by Unitech.

"My main concern is that Uninor can continue its operation in India. They have some 42 million customers and it's important that they can continue to use their preferred telecommunication company. The discussion on how the licenses should be auctioned is a government issue," said Giske.

"But we hope that they will secure newcomers in the competition. I think that's good for the customers of India also that you have a strong competition that lower the prices and keeps telecommunications developing," he added.

Giske said that during the meeting they also discussed the process of new auction of licences of the telecommunication companies.

"We just talked about how the process would be now on the new auctions when the Supreme Court will file decisions and how the telecommunication authorities will go on with their proposals," he added.

Giske further said that it was up to the Indian Government as to how they would go about the auctioning.

"Well, I think the government is appreciating Uninor's big investments in India. But of course, they also have to listen to the Supreme Court's decision and they are now looking into the possibilities of conducting this auction in a good way. But that's upto the Indian government," said Giske.

"We have presented our arguments and they were listening. India and Norway are good friends, so we talk in a very polite and nice manner," he added.


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