Norwegian telco Telenor to expand presence in India

March 28, 2016 / by / 0 Comment
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Norway’s largest mobile network Telenor has recently announced that it is in now in talks with another company to expand its operations in India.  Speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, CEO Sigve Brekke refused to disclose the name of the company, but rumor has it that it could be Tata Teleservices, which has been also mum on the issue.

“We are in discussions with someone for expanding to all India, but cannot comment if we will do it,” said Brekke, as reported by The Economic Times. Telenor commenced its Indian operations when it acquired runner-up carrier Uninor in 2009. Since then, it has become among the most-preferred brands of consumers looking for cheaper services.

The decision to spread out presence across the country will be supported by a 4G expansion program, in which the Norwegian-owned company will launch a better version of its 1.4 MHz narrow LTE band in Varanasi. The stronger 4G version is expected to be launched in six months’ time in five to eight cities across India. However, Brekke admitted that the launch is on pilot basis, making the city expansion highly dependent on the results of its first pilot project in Varanasi.

“We not only have liberalised spectrum, we have also just upgraded entire network technology. The problem is not technology, the problem is not liberalised spectrum, the problem is that we need more spectrum. So, if we didn’t have any voice customers, we could have launched 4G aggressively,” Brekke told Gadgets 360.

Presently, the telco remains behind its competitors, as industry leaders Airtel, Vodafone, and even Idea Cellular have already rolled out their 4G services nationwide in the past months. Reliance Jio has already said that they would be offering 4G service before 2016 ends.

Avenue for global expansion

India’s continuously growing mobile-telco market has become an attractive expansion point for foreign markets.

San Diego-based network extender provider 5BARz International (OTCQB: BARZ), for instance, just announced that it has begun trial rollout with another Tier One telco in the country. The first one is Vodafone, India’s second largest player, which has now started marketing the company’s plug-and-play network extender device.

According to the company’s press statement, the trial rollout marks the beginning of the first phase towards signing up with another Indian giant telco, making 5BARz’s presence across the country wider and stronger.

The network extender is deemed revolutionary by radio frequency experts, as it has successfully combined the send and receive antennas into the single-box form factor. Antenna-less and cable-less, the device sets itself apart from all network repeaters on the market, all of which require an antenna and intricate cabling just for it to be utilized.

“This is in itself, a major achievement. We patented this process, and it is our company’s main selling point. We are unique and we deliver real results. Telco officials see the difference, that it can deliver and really enhance mobile network signal at an unbelievable rate. From one bar to five, that is,” said CEO Daniel Bland.

The company plans to become a major force in solving India’s dismal network signals. The unresolved infrastructure problem in the country has paved the way to a massive call-drop problem and slow Internet data.

“Despite deep penetration of telecom services quality of both call and data services continue to be a concern. Both could do with plenty of improvements. Call drops are becoming frequent and buffering spoils data access, like video watching or gaming experience,” said New Call Telecom CEO Nigel Eastwood to Gizmodo.

Currently, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and local telco firms are working together to work on the longstanding problem, hoping to fix it soon as the country prepares for 5G expansion in 2020.



Arturo Garcia is a Peruvian-Filipino freelance journalist. He is a self-confessed football fan like most Latin Americans, although he never learned to enjoy basketball, his Filipina mother’s favorite sport. He started out as a political writer for a local daily in Peru, but now focuses on everything-tech and business. Arturo studied Economics at Unibersidad de Lima and currently lives at an apartment in Salinas Valley, Northern California, exactly 725 meters from John Steinbeck’s hometown.