With the 2G Spectrum Auction being considered null and void, and a new 2G Spectrum Auction being reordered, number of firms were severely affected. However, out of the 22 Licenses which were cancelled, Uninor was affected the most. They had, by far, the maximum number of users on their newly formed network and had the most to lose.
Uninor is a joint venture between Unitech Group and Telenor. They employ over 17,000 people and have 36 million customers. In a short amount of time, they managed to make a place for themselves in the market by competing almost solely on price. They have one of the lowest Average Revenues Per Customer (ARPU). With a focus on Voice services instead of data, Uninor did not participate in the 3G Spectrum Auction.
On the cancellation of the 2G licenses, Uninor has threatened to shut shop and quit the Indian market and challenge the cancellation in a international court. However, given that they are in over 13 Circles and have 1900 distributors country wide, it is not such an easy thing to do. Now Uninor seems to have softened their stance of leaving the Indian market.
Says Uninor MD and Telenor’s Asia head, Sigve Brekke, “In principle we will go for auction but I am not saying that whether we will win everything … So, the option of exit cannot be ruled out. We will be coming out with advertisement for our customers assuring that we are very much here. This means we will continue to serve our 36 million customers, work with our 22,000 partners and keep building our presence in the market.”
Interestingly, the Norweigan Government has a 54% stake in Telenor and hence pressure on India to stay the cancellation is not unlikely. In fact, Norway’s IT minister, Rigmor Aasrud met Kapil Sibal, to discuss the Supreme Court’s cancellation of licenses. Aasrud said in a statement,“We had a fruitful and constructive mee