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Extra spectrum based on subscribers was promised to us, says Telenor CEO
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<img style="float:left; margin: 0px 10px 0px 0px;" src="http://www.blonnet.com/2009/12/04/images/2009120451420401.jpg"/>Norway-based Telenor is the latest to enter the fast growing and highly competitive Indian telecom sector. Business Line caught up with Mr Jon Fredrik Baksaas, President and CEO, Telenor Group, to know how Uninor will tackle the challenges ahead.

Has the India launch been the fastest one for Telenor globally?

Uninor has been able to put together a network from scratch within six months. I think this is the most rapid build up that I have seen. I have seen 24 launches since we started GSM in Norway. This is by far the most significant one. It is also the business environment that makes it possible. Infrastructure is available and vendors have the capacity to deliver.

Now that you have launched what kind of differentiation can consumers expect?

Telenor's networks globally is associated with good quality. We want to deliver better relative to the market and as such our focus here in India will be to offer superior quality. Then we want to give good service to customer at the street level which means giving standardised handling of their problems and queries right from the sale point. This will develop a relationship between us and the customers. Then comes the price wherein we want to address customers who do not think in terms of seconds but in terms of longer duration calls. We do not want to get into the per second billing category.

Do we see interesting applications from Uninor?

Yes and no. We are entering the Indian market with basic services in 2G platform. But this is not just about voice or SMS but also introducing customers to Net access. However, 3G platform is better suited for data applications. But our experience has been that 3G business takes a very long time. From that perspective, we will not rush for 3G since we need to concentrate on 2G services. Penetration in India is only 40 per cent and given that there are multiple SIMs being used by single customers the real penetration is lower. We expect the penetration level to double and Uninor will be one of the players that will enable it to happen.

Are you concerned about the ongoing debate on auctioning 2G spectrum?

We have a very big concern. When we got the licence we were told that we would be given extra spectrum when we reach certain subscriber levels. This is part of our investment decision. So transparency, level playing field and reasonable long-time consistent regulation is something that operators would ask for.

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