Another one bites the dust, investors cut off Augere’s Indian operations

21 May 2012

Augere Wireless is expected to sell off its spectrum allocations and quit the Indian market, as investors have pulled the plug on the start-up operation over regulatory uncertainty, the Economic Times reports. Augere’s CEO Lars Henrik Stork said that the telco’s investors had decided to cease funding Indian operations as: ‘There is a lot of uncertainty hanging over the telecoms sector in India. The cancellation of licences by the Supreme Court, TRAI’s [the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India’s] rules for re-auction and the exorbitantly high reserve prices, as well as lack of clarity on the new telecoms policy, which was supposed to be unveiled by mid-last year and has not happened yet.’ Augere had expected to launch services earlier this year, and had intended to invest INR2.7 billion (USD48.54 million) over the next three to five years. With investors including international telecoms behemoth France Telecom (FT), Augere’s retreat from the Indian market has added to the lengthening list of operators and financers that have lost confidence in India’s telecoms sector; Etisalat and Batelco have closed up shop, whilst Telenor and Sistema are the most prominent amongst those that have threatened to follow suit. With such industry heavyweights abandoning India, the regulators will be hard pressed to attract future investment and expertise. As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Augere was awarded a 2.3GHz broadband wireless access (BWA) concession in two Indian telecoms circles in mid-2010; its sister companies offer WiMAX-based internet services in Pakistan and Bangladesh under the Qubee brand, reaching 200,000 WiMAX subscribers across the two markets at end-March 2012.

India, Augere (India)