Started services after govt nod and FIPB approval: Telenor

Started services after govt nod and FIPB approval: Telenor

"We entered Indian market by clearing the licence obligation. We also asked the government for FIPB approval allowing us to own above 50 per cent," Uninor Managing Director Sigve Brekke told PTI on the sidelines of the GSMA Mobile Asia Congress here.

Getting government approval and also FIPB nod means the application has been scrutinised twice, first by the Department of Telecom (DoT) and then by the Ministry of Finance for acquiring more than 50 per cent stake in Unitech Telecom Services.

He, however, added that the company is taking a cautious approach towards investments, particularly in a daily changing environment of the Indian telecom industry.

"We entered India with the clear understanding that everything is OK and we have invested in USD 1.2 billion, have 40 million subscribers (of Uninor) already. So we (will) just see what the Government is doing as its responsibility," Brekke said.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has found that two major real estate firms -- Unitech and Allainz Infratech -- have misrepresented facts to the government for getting telecom licences along with spectrum in 2008 causing huge losses to the exchequer.

CAG, in its report submitted to Parliament yesterday, said six newly incorprated applicant companies belonging to Unitech group (brand name Uninor) had submitted their applications for grant of 20 licences to the Department of Telecom on September 24, 2007.

Along with their applications, these companies had submitted copies of their Memorandum of Association/Articles of Association and indicated they meet the eligibility criteria for grant of Unified Access Service (UAS) licences.

According to the CAG report, the condition of the change of name of these applicant companies was met in May 2008 only, while the licences were issued in January 2008.

"As a result, all these six new companies were registered afresh with the new names in May 2008 with the RoC ... as a result, the Memorandum of Understanding of these companies did not permit them to operate in telecom sector on the date of application i.e., 24 September 2007.

"Hence, they were ineligible for the grant of UAS licences," the CAG said. The CAG has pegged a revenue loss of up to Rs 1.76 lakh crore for non-auctioning of spectrum to new licencees and also for allotment of additional spectrum to existing operators.

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