Telenor has won permission from the Indian government to raise its stake in mobile operator Uninor to 100%.
The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) of the Government of India approved the Norwegian operator’s application made in June.
Telenor has also received approval for its plans to spend 7.8 billion rupees (€99.5 million) to secure the 26% of Uninor it does not already own. The stake is currently in the hands of Indian investor Lakshdeep Investments.
Uninor has 30 million customers across seven of India's telecoms circles, giving it coverage of more than half of the population. It plans to launch in an eighth circle – Assam – later this year.
Telenor entered the Indian mobile market via the controversial 2008 spectrum auction, some of the legalities of which are still being unravelled. Initially it partnered with local real estate firm Unitech to create Unitech Wireless, which launched services under the Uninor brand.
Following the withdrawal of all the licences issued in 2008 by the government in 2012, Telenor severed ties with Unitech and found a new Indian partner, Lakshdeep Investments, and created a new JV – Telewings Communications. It secured new spectrum and carried on operating under the Uninor brand.
Last summer the Indian government approved the removal of the foreign direct investment (FDI) cap in the telecoms sector, enabling overseas players to own 100% of their Indian units.