Telenor India

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Telenor India
Industry Telecommunications
Founded 2009
Headquarters Gurgaon, India
Areas served
  • Andhra Pradesh & Telangana
  • Bihar & Jharkhand
  • Gujarat
  • Maharashtra & Goa
  • Uttar Pradesh (East)
  • Uttar Pradesh (West) & Uttarakhand
Key people
Sharad Mehrotra (CEO),[1]
Services Mobile telephony
Wireless internet
Members 50.72 million [2] (2015)
Number of employees
3,338 (2015)[1]
Parent Telenor Group
Telenor CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas launching Uninor in 2009.

Telenor India (formerly known as Uninor[4][5]), is an Indian mobile network operator based in Gurgaon, Haryana, India. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Telenor Group, a telecommunications company headquartered in Oslo, Norway. Telenor owns 100% of the stake in the holding company, Telenor India Communications Pvt Ltd.

Telewings offers mobile voice and data services based on the GSM technology, on 5 MHz spectrum. Telenor services are commercially available in 6 circles, covering a population footprint of 600 million people. Telenor serves more than 30 million customers in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The mobile service provider targets youth and other communities within the Indian mass market.

In recent Spectrum auctions Telenor secured fresh spectrum in 4 of its existing circles and in a new circle of Assam.

Spectrum acquired by Uninor in the 1800Mhz band [6] UP (East) – 1.8 MHz UP (West) & Uttarakhand – 2.0 MHz Bihar & Jharkhand – 2.2 MHz Andhra Pradesh & Telangana – 1.4 MHz Assam – 6.0 MHz


The company Unitech Wireless was until 2009 a subsidiary of Unitech Group, holding a wireless services licence for all 22 Indian telecom circles since 2008. In early 2009, Unitech Group and Telenor Group agreed to enter a joint venture where Telenor would inject fresh equity investments of 61.35 billion into Unitech Wireless to take a majority stake in the company. This was operating capital invested directly in Unitech Wireless by Telenor Group. Telenor Group conducted these investments in four tranches, subsequent to approvals from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) took 67.25% ownership of Unitech Wireless.[7] In September 2009, the company announced its brand name as Uninor.[citation needed] Telenor has acquired all stake from Unitech and its shareholding in the firm stands at 74%

Uninor launched in 8 circles on 3 December 2009, after completing one of the world’s largest GSM Greenfield launches which was also one of the fastest telecom roll-outs ever in India. According to Uninor, the brand was built around an ambition to serve the young, aspiring India. Six months later, 5 additional circles were launched including metropolitan areas like Mumbai and Kolkata.[citation needed]

Uninor has facilitated rapid scaling of the company through a lean operation model, where a large share of the network infrastructure is outsourced to business partners. Uninor’s modern equipment has enabled it to introduce targeted offerings and serve a large audience with limited spectrum.[citation needed] Uninor introduced dynamic pricing, a concept that gives consumers discounts that are based on current network traffic at an individual site and change with location and time. Over the summer of 2010, the company further simplified its strategy with a focus on three core areas – excellence in mass market distribution, basic services and cost efficient operations. Changes were also made to the product mix and marketing– making them simpler, more direct and clearly positioning Uninor as an affordable mass market service.[citation needed]

Uninor grew from 0 to 45.6 million customers (as of Q2 2012) within less than two years, and emerged as the most successful of the new entrants that obtained licenses in 2008. The company had more than double the subscribers of all of the other entrants combined.

On 2 February 2012, the Supreme Court of India cancelled 122 licenses of 22 mobile operators, including Uninor. In July 2012, Uninor decided to gradually scale down operations in 4 circles - Karnataka, Kerala, Orissa and Tamil Nadu. The objective was to strengthen the focus on the top performing circles ahead of the 2012 spectrum auction.[8] Uninor eventually shut down services in those 4 circles. In the 2012 auction, Uninor won back licences and spectrum in 6 circles - Uttar Pradesh (East), Uttar Pradesh (West) & Uttarakhand, Bihar & Jharkhand, Gujarat, Maharashtra & Goa and Andhra Pradesh & Telangana.[9] Uninor was about shut down services in Mumbai, Kolkata and West Bengal circles on 18 January 2013 but the deadline was extended to 16 February 2013. The Supreme Court on 15 February 2013 ordered companies that did not win spectrum in the November 2012 auction to immediately discontinue operations.[10]

Uninor shut down services in Kolkata, Mumbai and West Bengal after midnight on 16 February 2013.[11][12] According to a Uninor spokesperson, almost all Uninor subscribers in Kolkata and West Bengal had ported out by 16 February 2013, as Uninor had informed them to do so in December 2012. The spokesperson further claimed that the "sudden apex court order did not give us [Uninor] the opportunity to inform Mumbai customers in advance". At the time of service shutting, Uninor still had 1.8 million subscribers in Mumbai.[13]


September 23, 2015, Uninor announced it has re-branded itself as Telenor in India. Initially it had a joint venture with realty company Unitech, which exited in the year 2012. The company subsequently started operating with the name of Telewings. Telenor bought 100 per cent stake in the company.[14]

Key Milestones[edit]

2009: Launched GSM services in 8 circles on the 3rd of December, reaching upto 600 million people in UP West, UP East, Bihar & Jharkhand, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Orissa circles. Telenor enters the market targeting the new, young, and aspiring India under the slogan “Ab Mera Number Hai” (my time is now).

2010: Launched the Dynamic Pricing feature which offered upto 60% discount on calls. It also launched services in 5 additional circles – Maharashtra & Goa, Mumbai, Gujarat, West Bengal and Kolkata – taking the total potential reach upto 900 million people and 13 circles.

2011: Telenor’s MD goes on the road to all circles in his ‘Winning Every Day’ roadshow. Unlimited Music offering launched.

2012: On the 2nd of February 2012, the Supreme Court quashed 122 licenses issued in the 2008 process, and ordered the regulator (TRAI) to recommend a way to award fresh licenses. The order affected all 22 licenses of Telenor (pan-India), and gave the regulator 4 months to sort it out. Telenor employees fought back with ‘We love Telenor’ campaign

Telenor celebrates reaching its first Circle break-even in less than three years. The first Telenor Circle to Break Even was the Uttar Pradesh East Circle. Telenor Group signs deal with Lakshdeep Investments & Finance Pvt. Ltd. as new partner. Telenor Group eventually own 74 per cent of the joint venture

2013: Won the license to continue their services in 6 circles. Telenor India bags “the most promising mobile operator in India” award. Telenor India achieves break-even in five out of its six circles. “Call Katega Muft Milega” (NW Promise Project). Unified License granted to Telenor.

2014: Spectrum auctions: Acquired new circle Assam; got top-up spectrum in AP, Bihar, UP-East, and UP-West. Launches Sabse Sasta Facebook and Whatsapp packs. Telenor Global raises ownership of Telenor India to 100 percent. Enters Guinness Book of World Records for opening of 362 Telenor India stores in one day. Telenor India completes 5 years of affordable telecommunication in India. Completes 5000 network sites roll-out.

2015: Launches ‘Grahak Siksha Kendra’ for customer awareness. Completes 100 percent ownership of Telewings (then holding company of Telenor) in India. Bags National awards for Excellence and Sustaibaility for project Sampark. Rebranded as Telenor India.[2]

Network coverage[edit]

At its peak, Telenor operated services in 13 telecom circles of India. Winning fresh licenses in its 6 most successful circles, today it operates in the following telecom regions/circles:

Current operations
  • Andhra Pradesh & Telangana
  • Bihar & Jharkhand
  • Gujarat
  • Maharashtra & Goa
  • Uttar Pradesh (East)
  • Uttar Pradesh (West) & Uttarakhand
Discontinued operations
  • West Bengal (shut down services after midnight on 16 February 2013)
  • Karnataka (gradually scaled down from July 2012)
  • Kerala (gradually scaled down from July 2012)
  • Kolkata (shut down services after midnight on 16 February 2013)
  • Orissa (gradually scaled down from July 2012)
  • Tamil Nadu (gradually scaled down from July 2012)
  • Mumbai (shut down services after midnight on 16 February 2013)[15]

Telenor India’s corporate office is located in Gurgaon, Haryana. It has 6 circle offices, one in each of the circles where its services are commercially available, as well as a number of zonal offices and technical offices.

The circles offices are in:

  • Hyderabad – Andhra Pradesh & Telangana circle
  • Patna – Bihar & Jharkhand circle
  • Lucknow – Uttar Pradesh (East) circle
  • Noida – Uttar Pradesh (West) & Uttarakhand circle
  • Pune – Maharashtra & Goa circle
  • Ahmedabad – Gujarat circle


Launching its Indian operation, Telenor announced a set of financial targets for the new venture. Telenor is targeting an 8% pan-India market share, breaking even on EBIDTA within three years of launch and obtain positive operating cash flow within five years of launch. Although the average data bandwidth remains around 10kbps but it is preferred by people using internet services on low feature phones. Telenor also provides offers to individual users through USSD dialling. The operational peak funding requirement is set at INR 155 billion.[citation needed]

Telenor’s strategy to reach its targets is based on three strategic pillars;

  • servicing the basics,
  • excellence in mass market distribution and
  • cost efficient operations



Uninor re-branded itself as Telenor India in September 2015. The logotype, font and the visual expression follows that of the Telenor Group.[14] The tagline ‘Pay Less. Talk More.’ was introduced in 2011. Uninor also claims to be Sabse Sasta (English: "the cheapest") in its market communication.

Trusted Brand[edit]

In the Brand Trust Report 2012, a study conducted by Trust Research Advisory, Uninor was ranked 113th among India's most trusted brands and subsequently, according to the Brand Trust Report 2013, Uninor was ranked 166th among India's most trusted brands. In 2014 however, Uninor was ranked 208th among India's most trusted brands according to the Brand Trust Report 2014.[16]


Telenor India’s main infrastructure and operation is handled by:


2G license controversy[edit]

Unitech Wireless was one of the would-be telecom companies that received 2G licenses in 2008. The method chosen by the authorities to allocate these licenses has later been subject to controversy as part of the 2G license allocation case. Licenses were awarded through a first come-first served process, where eight companies belonging to the Unitech Group were awarded telecom licenses.[citation needed]

The licenses obtained by the telecom arm of the Unitech Group were the basis for Telenor Group’s investment into the joint venture. Unitech Wireless companies were later amalgamated into one company, Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt. Ltd. The Telenor Group invested INR 61.35 billion through new shares to hold 67.25% majority stake in the company. This investment has been used as working capital for the joint venture. Telenor’s investments in Unitech Wireless have been cleared at each stage by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).[citation needed]

Due to the controversy of the 2G license allocation case, Unitech Ltd.'s Managing Director Sanjay Chandra together with the company Unitech Wireless, have come under investigation by the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). These investigations are connected to Unitech Wireless at a point when the company was fully owned by the Unitech Group. Subsequently, Unitech’s Managing Director and the erstwhile chairman of the board of Unitech Wireless, Sanjay Chandra, together with individuals from other telecom operators were taken into custody in early 2011. He was released on bail, while the case is pending in Indian courts.[17]

In February 2012, a special court consisting of two Supreme Court justices issued a judgment in a public interest litigation (PIL) case connected to the 2008 allocation of telecom licenses. The judgment directs the Indian telecom regulator, TRAI, to recommend a process for re-allocation of the 121 licenses that were issued in 2008. The court ordered this process to be concluded within four months, i.e. by June 2012. This deadline was later extended to September 2012, then to January 2013. Uninor services and operations continues uninterrupted.[citation needed]

Telenor Group on 21 February 2012 announced its intention to form a new entity in India with which its Indian operations will be taken forward. This new entity will serve as the platform to approach the upcoming auctions for fresh licenses as mandated by the Supreme Court. The new entity will also seek requisite approvals from the FIPB to allow Telenor Group to take up 74% ownership.[18]

Uninor on 1 August 2012 said it will auction all of its telecom business before it becomes non-operational on 7 September, the deadline set by the apex court for winding up of operations of all the firms whose licences had been cancelled. The move has been strongly opposed by the firm's minority stakeholder Unitech and it has threatened to initiate legal action, if Uninor goes ahead with the auction.[19] Telenor in August 2012 said it would buy out Unitech Wireless for Rs 4,190 crore, if there are no bidders for the Indian mobile phone operator's assets.[20] A settlement between the parties was made in October 2012 with Unitech Ltd. committing to dipose of all its shares in Unitech Wireless.[21] Uninor website has complete product collection based on location.[22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28]

Winning fresh licenses and spectrum in the 2012 telecom auction, Telenor is in the process of transferring its business to the new legal entity that will continue Uninor's network operations. Uninor services will continue uninterrupted throughout and beyond the transfer process.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Telenor Group - Uninor, India". Telenor Group. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^ Uninor Changes Name to Telenor, Expands Call Drop Refund Plan | Sep 23, 2015
  5. ^ Uninor re-brands itself as Telenor in India September 23, 2015 |
  6. ^ "Uninor". Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  7. ^ - Approval of Unitech Wireless’ application to increase foreign shareholding announced. 16 October 2009.
  8. ^ "Uninor to scale down in four circles, step up in the East". 25 July 2012. 
  9. ^ Biswas, Rudradeep. (2012-11-26) TT Special: 2G Map of India. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
  10. ^ Uninor to close down its services in Mumbai Today. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
  11. ^ Uninor shuts shop in Mumbai, 18 lakh users stranded, remaining circles to continue operations - The Times of India. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
  12. ^ "Uninor shuts shop in Mumbai, 18 lakh customers hit". Firstpost. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  13. ^ Uninor shuts network in Kolkata, West Bengal, Mumbai circles | Business Line. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
  14. ^ a b "Uninor re-brands itself as Telenor in India". The Hindu. Retrieved 2015-09-23. 
  15. ^ Uninor shuts ops in Mumbai after SC order. Business Standard (2013-02-18). Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
  16. ^ "India's Most Trusted Brands 2014". 
  17. ^ 2G scam: Revoke Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra's bail, say legal experts : North, News - India Today. (2013-02-13). Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
  18. ^ Telenor Group seeks indemnities from Unitech Limited as it gets ready for a new future in India - Telenor Group. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
  19. ^ "Uninor plans to auction telecom business; Unitech opposes". 1 August 2012. 
  20. ^ "Telenor to buy Unitech Wireless for Rs 4,190 crore if no bidders found". 2 August 2012. 
  21. ^ Unitech reaches settlement on Uninor JV with Telenor - Economic Times. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
  22. ^ "Uninor". Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  23. ^ "Uninor". Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  24. ^ "Uninor". Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  25. ^ "Uninor". Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  26. ^ "Uninor". Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  27. ^ "Uninor". Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  28. ^ "Uninor". Retrieved 17 July 2015. 

External links[edit]