Telenor's Indian Unitech plans get boost

Nascent Indian wireless operator Unitech has been allotted GSM spectrum in three more of the nation's telecommunications circles, and now controls spectrum in 16 of the 22 service areas.

The company has been allotted 4.4MHz of spectrum on the 1800MHz band in the circles of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Kolkata.

The news may help placate critics of Norwegian operator Telenor's much-publicised decision to purchase a 60% stake in Unitech Wireless -  as well as Telenor's disgruntled investors.

Critics of the move had argued that the $1 billion purchase price was far too high for a company that had yet to start operations or acquire nation-wide licenses. 

Should Unitech decide to expand into 3G, it could find acquiring spectrum far more difficult.

According to the Economic Times, the Department of Telecom has issued a draft report revealing a  due to the spectrum shortage no more than four 3G licenses will be available for any of the 22 telecommunications circles.

The report also states that 2G spectrum is in increasingly short supply, suggesting Unitech should consider itself lucky to get what it did.