Telenor airs spectrum fears as it launches Uninor across India

Dylan Bushell-Embling
04 Dec 2009

Telenor’s Indian unit Uninor began mobile operations yesterday as CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas sounded the alarm over the lack of spectrum.

In what Telenor said was the largest single day launch in telecom history, the GSM network covers a footprint of nearly 600 million people.

The Scandinavian operator owns two thirds of Uninor and India's Unitech Group the remainder.

But Baksaas told the Hindu Business Line the company had “a very big concern” about the limited spectrum available.

“When we got the license we were told that we would be given extra spectrum when we reach certain subscriber levels. This is part of our investment decision. So transparency, level playing field and reasonable long-time consistent regulation is something that operators would ask for.”

The operator plans to launch in an eighth circle this month, and in five more circles early next year. India has 22 telecom circles in total.

Uninor has launched with tariffs as low as 29 paise ($0.006) per minute for local calls, and 49 paise for STD, but will not offer per-second billing now being introduced by many of its established competitors.

The services will be sold through 210,000 points of sale. Uninor has set targets of 8% market share by 2018 and ebitda break-even within three years.

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