Will seek compensation if we lose licence: Telenor

New Delhi: Norwegian mobile operator Telenor today said it will seek damages from the Indian government if it were to lose its 22 licences due to the Supreme Court order that has in all cancelled 122 licences of new 2G players.

"We have informed the Government of India of our intent to invoke the provisions of the CECA (Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement) between India and Singapore," Telenor spokesman Glenn Mandelid said in an emailed statement today.

The Norwegian company, which owns 67.25 per cent stake in Unitech Wireless through its unit registered in Singapore, served a notice on the government, threatening international arbitration if a solution was not found.

Mandelid said Telenor had not indicated the compensation it intends to seek if its investments in India were to fail but said, "we do intend to seek compensation for all investment, guarantees and damages. We are hopeful that it remains the government`s intent to protect and encourage bona fide foreign investment in the country."

The Supreme Court had last month ordered cancellation of all 122 mobile licences awarded in 2008 under the then Telecom Minister A Raja. That included 22 licences of Telenor. "We are convinced that we can resolve this matter through continuing dialogue with the Government so that Telenor Group remains a serious and long term participant in the Indian market that brings the benefit of competition to the Indian consumers," the Norwegian firm said.

Telenor, which had bought 67.25 per cent stake in the joint venture with Unitech for about USD 1.2 billion, has filed a petition in the apex court seeking a review of the cancellation order. The joint venture operates under the Uninor brand name.