Telenor tackles Indian government over 2G licenses

Telenor has confirmed reports it is seeking compensation from India’s government over the cancellation of 2G licenses, but denies setting a $14 billion (€10.4 billion) price tag on the action.
 
A spokesman told Telecoms Europe.net the company has informed the government of plans to invoke provisions in an economic treaty between India and Singapore, where Telenor’s Asian operations are headquartered.
 
“We can confirm that we have informed the government of India of our intent to invoke the provisions of the CECA…While we haven’t stated any amount, we do intend to seek compensation for all investment, guarantees and damages,” the spokesman said.
 
Local press today reported the carrier is seeking $14 billion in damages and threatened to take the government to international arbitration. However, the spokesman says Telenor is still seeking to resolve the matter without resorting to legal action, to enable it to remain active in the country. “We are hopeful that it remains the government’s intent to protect and encourage bonafide foreign investment,” he said.
 
Russia's Sistema last month invoked the provisions of a treaty between India and Russia try to recover some of the investment sunk into its own 2G joint venture, Sistema Shyam.
 
Telenor is also currently involved in a dispute with its domestic partner in the Uninor venture, Unitech Wireless.
 
Telenor has already made it clear it wants to sever its relationship with Unitech and seek a new Indian partner, but Unitech has asserted that it should be entitled to sell its stake to Telenor for $150 million – a move the Norwegian telco says is pointless without the licenses.

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