Norway’s Telenor Group has announced that its Indian subsidiary, Uninor, will be renamed Telenor India in line with the group’s international brand. Explaining the decision behind the rebranding, Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke said: ‘This is about more than changing a brand name. This is about preparing Telenor India for a new and exciting future. By taking a broader, value-driven position, Telenor India will appeal to new audiences with innovative services and a customer-first approach. We believe that the fundamentals in India remain strong with a large and young population and solid economic growth. However, a large part of the population remains unconnected to modern telecom services.’ The company, currently registered as Telewings Communications Services, will alter its legal name to Telenor India Communications alongside the change to its brand identity.
As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, at the end of June 2015 Uninor claimed a total of 48.13 million subscribers, equivalent to a market share of 4.9%, despite its comparatively small footprint of just six of the country’s 22 operating areas. Uninor has authorisations covering a seventh circle, Assam, but has yet to launch services there.
The Uninor name was a holdover from Telenor’s previous joint venture in India, Unitech Wireless. Telenor’s partnership with local real estate firm Unitech ended in October 2012, however, when it bought out the latter in the wake of the mass 2G licence cancellation in February 2012, which saw Uninor stripped of its concessions. Telenor went on to form a new company, Telewings, as a 49/51 JV with Lakshdeep Investments; through which it bought fresh licences but continued to use the existing Uninor brand. Telenor subsequently increased its stake in the new firm to 74% in June 2013, before taking full control in October 2014.