Yet-to-launch mobile operator Unitech Wireless has been awarded national long distance (NLD) and international long distance (ILD) concessions, the Economic Times reports. Unitech is expected to launch commercial GSM-based mobile voice services by the end of 2009, having received spectrum for five circles: Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Kerala. Having obtained the NLD and ILD licences it is also understood that the operator will provide STD and ISD calls when it does begin service.
Unitech is currently 49%-owned by Norwegian telecom group Telenor, which has committed to increasing its stake to 74%. Telenor’s plans to increase its stake have been held up by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) however; the Norwegian firm is still waiting for the go-ahead from the FIPB to increase its holding to 67%, the third stage of a four-stage investment strategy. It is understood that the plans have been held up by concerns from the Home Ministry over security issues.