Telenor writes off Uninor

Telenor writes off Uninor

Following speculation last week that it would leave the Indian market, Norwegian carrier Telenor has decided to write off the remaining value of its stake in joint venture Uninor, amounting to $680.9 million in fixed and intangible assets.

The move follows a recommendation by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India which would see the starting price for 2G licences to be re-auctioned in the country amount to almost 10 times more than that paid in the original auction in 2008.

Uninor was one of several operators affected by the Indian Supreme Court’s cancellation of 122 2G licences in February in the wake of the country’s telecoms scandal.

Should the prices proposed by the authority remain unchanged, Telenor would have to pay an estimated $3.6 billion for 5MHz of spectrum in all 22 of India’s licence regions.

Telenor has said that the proposed prices would mean that it would be almost impossible for it to participate in the auction, which the Supreme Court has asked India’s government to hold by August 31. The carrier has said that it is working actively with the Indian authorities to avoid having to pull out of the country.

The write down will be included in Telenor’s first quarter results on May 8. It is the second for the carrier in recent months, following a $733 million charge Telenor said it would take for Uninor in February, in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.

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