Unitech Wireless, which has licences to operate in 22 service areas in India, has admitted Telenor is one of two or three firms negotiating to purchase a 26 to 45 per cent stake in the burgeoning Indian wireless company.
Whilst Unitech has mentioned in the past it was seeking investment from a large foreign operator, this is the first time Telenor's name has been firmly linked to the deal by Unitech's MD, Sanjay Chandra. He claimed the investment, which could raise over US$1.5 billion, should be finalised by the end of this month. The closeness of the deal has been verified by the Indian Telecoms Ministry.
Telenor, which was the subject of a bid from France Telecom earlier this year, already has operations in Pakistan and Bangladesh, but has stated a firm interest in operating in India, the world's fastest growing telecoms market for wireless services.
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