Nordic-based operator group Telenor paid one-third of the fees for its recently-issued 2G licences in India “under protest”, after it was not allowed to offset the entry fee paid by its previous Uninor joint venture, the country’s Economic Times reports.
Apparently, the regulators said that because the licences had been won by a new and separate entity, the fees paid by its previous joint venture partner, Unitech, could not be reclaimed.
Contrastingly, operators Videocon and Idea Cellular did not have to make any payments following the latest auction, because they were able to carry-forward the sums paid when the permits were first issued in 2008.
Telenor was in a long-running dispute with Unitech about the joint venture, which was only resolved in October 2012 with a deal which saw the business transferred to a new company – which was the vehicle used to apply for the permits issued last month.
The Nordic company subsequently announced a new Indian partner, Lakshdeep Investments & Finance, and paid $730 million for licences in six of the country’s most populous zones.
Telenor last week set out its plans for its operations in the country, including a funding limit and the intention of reaching breakeven next year.