Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday asked Norweigan telecom major Telenor to participate in the 2G auction process and assured that the government would try to complete the exercise at the earliest.
He said this during his meeting with a business delegation led by Norwegian Trade and Industry Minister Trond Giske. Telenor CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas was also present.
Mr. Mukherjee, according to sources, clarified that the government was acting as per the directions of the Supreme Court in the 2G case.
Although it takes 400 days to complete the process, the Minister told the delegation that the government “will try to finish the process at the earliest.”
Oslo-based telecom firm Telenor, which operates under the brand name Uninor, has lost all its licences following the Supreme Court’s order to the Indian government to cancel all 122 licences issued in 2008.
After the meeting, Mr. Baksaas said: “We came to India to work for... We are on the way to do that. It (Supreme Court judgement) came in as a big surprise. Now we have to work through all these surprises...our primary concern is to be able to run and continue operation.”
He said the government should align all the developments related with auction process and conduct it by June 2.
The auction process, he said, should be conducted in such a way so that the companies seeking fresh licenses are not at a disadvantage.
Mr. Giske and Mr. Baksaas on Monday met Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and raised concerns on the issue.
Telenor, one of the leading global telecom companies in which the Norwegian Government holds a 54 per cent equity stake, has a joint venture with India’s Unitech Wireless Ltd. Telenor owns 67.25 per cent stake in Unitech Wireless through a Singapore-registered unit.