Telenor seeking $14b in damages from India

Dylan Bushell-Embling
28 Mar 2012

Norway's Telenor will seek nearly $14 billion in damages from the Indian government, following the cancellation of the 2G licenses held by Indian joint venture Uninor.


The company has made the claim in a letter to the prime minister's office and telecom ministry, and also repeated threats to take the government into international arbitration, Times of Indiareported


Telenor also claimed that the supreme court's decision last month to revoke 122 2G licenses held by Uninor and eight other telecom companies constitutes a breach of India's economic treaty with Singapore, where Telenor Asia Pte is headquartered.


India and Singapore have a comprehensive economic co-operation agreement (CECA), and Telenor is arguing that the cancellation of the licenses and subsequent loss of its investments in the market represents a violation of India's obligations under this deal.


This is the second such move by an international operator to protect its investments in the nation.


Russia's Sistema last month invoked the provisions of a treaty between India and Russia try to recover some of the investment sunk into its own 2G joint venture, Sistema Shyam.


Telenor is also currently involved in a dispute with its domestic partner in the Uninor venture, Unitech Wireless.


Telenor has already made it clear it wants to sever its relationship with Unitech and seek a new Indian partner, but Unitech has asserted that it should be entitled to sell its stake to Telenor for $150 million.


Telenor for its part has asserted that without the licenses, there is nothing to buy out, so it should not be required to pay.


Dylan Bushell-Embling

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