Nordic operator Telenor is considering an alliance with Tata Teleservices as it looks to continue find a new business partner to allow it to operate in the Indian mobile market, reports Business Line.
Sources said the companies have held initial discussions but are waiting until the rules for the upcoming 2G auctions are published before making a final decision.
The options discussed are believed to include merging the assets of Telenor's existing Indian venture, Uninor, with Tata Teleservices, or for Telenor to partially or fully acquire NTT Docomo’s stake in Tata. The latter would depend on the Japanese company’s decision related to an imminent call option.
Telenor owns a 67 percent stake in Uninor but said it plans to set up a new company with another partner to operate in India following the Indian Supreme Court decision to revoke Uninor’s 22 2G licences in February.
The cancellation of Telenor’s 2G licences was part of the wider move to cancel all 122 2G licences issued in 2008, which were deemed by the Supreme Court to have been allocated unfairly. The Indian government now plans to hold fresh auctions for the 2G licences. The move caused several foreign operators who had invested in India to reassess their presence in the market.
Telenor's EVP and head of region for Asia Sigve Brekke said in May that the company needed to establish a company with a new partner prior to the 2G auction.