Telenor has been granted permission by the government of India to assume full control over its local business Uninor.
This will allow the Norwegian operator freer rein to push into the competitive Indian market of 1.3 billion people.
Having applied to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board in June for approval, Telenor will acquire the 26% of Telewings Communications Services held by Lakshdeep Investment for IDR781 million ($13 million). The unit provides services as Uninor in 7 of India’s 22 telecom circles.
Telenor is able to acquire the holding of Telewings that it didn’t already own following a change in foreign ownership laws last year. The government removed the 74% overseas ownership cap, allowing foreign firms to take full control of Indian operators.
Vodafone was the first to take advantage of this liberalisation, assuming full control over its Indian unit in April by acquiring the 10.97% stake held by Piramel Enterprises for $1.7 billion.
Uninor is investing INR5 billion ($82.7 million) in network expansion and infrastructure, and holds spectrum across its 7 circles in the 5 to 7.2MHz range. The operator has around 33 million subscribers, equating to a 4.5% market share. It is preparing to begin operating in Assam.