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The launch of Uninor’s services is taking place eight months after the Telenor Group finalised the transaction with Unitech Group and made the first investment in Uninor on 20 March 2009
Telenor Group's Indian mobile operation, Uninor, announced on Thursday the launch of its mobile services across seven Indian telecom circles—Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh East, Uttar Pradesh West and Bihar (including Jharkhand)—that covers about 600 million people.
"Establishing a mobile operation of this scale in record time is truly an impressive achievement. I am confident that Uninor will keep the same high momentum going forward to become a preferred provider of mobile services to the Indian population and a significant mobile operator in the Indian market. The Telenor Group is committed to this operation, and will back Uninor with our capabilities and vast experience from other markets to support a successful entry into India," said Jon Fredrik Baksaas, chief executive and president, Telenor Group.
India, with its population of 1.2 billion, represents a market with high degree of diversity across various regions. To cater to different needs, Uninor has established a decentralised and empowered organisation with 11 regional hub offices to get closer to its customers, Telenor said in a release.
"The Indian organisational model represents a new and innovative approach to setting up a light and cost-efficient telecom operation,” said Mr Baksaas. "I believe that Uninor's organisational approach will make them faster and more agile than a traditional mobile operator," he added.
Stein-Erik Vellan, managing director, Uninor said, "With launch in seven circles and roaming agreements in place for the rest, we have started our service in India on day one as a pan-Indian national operator.”
Telenor, the joint venture partner of India's Unitech Wireless, is Asia's second largest mobile service provider with 172 million subscribers. Telenor is the majority partner in the joint venture and holds 67.25% stake in Unitech Wireless.
In October 2008, it bought 60% stake in Unitech Wireless for Rs6,120 crore. But later, Unitech, the cash-strapped realtor, agreed to give away an additional 7.25% stake to Telenor.
Last month, Telenor cut down its earmarked capital expenditure (capex) for India by Rs3,500 crore to Rs12,000 crore spread over the next five years citing lower equipment costs.
The company said that it would go for a focused roll-out in a majority of the 22 circles in India, while meeting licence obligations in all circles which would also save operational costs.
Telenor is the world’s sixth largest mobile service provider, and has operations in Northern Europe, Eastern Europe and across Asia. — Yogesh Sapkale