Norwegian-backed cellco Telewings Communications Services, which trades under the Uninor brand, has extended its network in the state of Gujarat with the addition of 750 new network sites there. The cellco, owned by Telenor Group, confirmed this week that its mobile services will be available in a further 300 village communities in the region, as a result of the expansion. Local press reports suggest that the carrier currently has 6.6 million mobile subscribers in Gujarat, where it operates 243 branded stores as well as 57,000 points of sale. It is understood that in total, Uninor rolled out a total of 5,000 new cell sites across its six operating circles – UP (West), UP (East), Bihar (including Jharkhand), Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat – last year. Commenting on the move, Uninor’s Rituraj Kalita said: ‘This is by far the biggest network rollout for Uninor’s Gujarat circle since launch in 2009. The network expansion in Gujarat will help us to offer the most affordable voice and Internet services to more consumers in existing and new towns and establish a base for future revenue growth. We will continue to serve our customers and the telecommunications sector overall to the best of our capabilities.’
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in October 2014 Norway’s Telenor Group took full control of Telewings, completing its acquisition of the 26% stake that it did not already own from Lakshdeep Investment and Finance. Telenor finalised the deal after the takeover was given the green light by India’s Foreign Investment Promotion board (FIPB); it paid INR7.8 billion (USD131.54 million) for the stake. Telenor formed Telewings as a joint venture with Lakshdeep in October 2012, before transferring the Uninor brand and assets to the new company after its split from former Indian partners Unitech Wireless in the wake of the mass spectrum cancellation in February 2012. The Norwegian group applied to the FIPB for permission to take full control of the unit in June last year.