Norway’s Telenor sells out of India as tycoon weighs in

Indian telecom giant Bharti Airtel will buy the local operations of Norway's Telenor, it said Thursday, as the ultra-competitive mobile market is shaken up by the country's richest man.

Norway's Telenor sells out of India as tycoon weighs in
Former Telenor CEO launching the company's ill-fated India business in 2009. Photo: peerdahl/Wikimedia Commons
Tycoon Mukesh Ambani launched Reliance Jio's 4G network in September with an audacious free service for the rest of 2016, followed by vastly cheaper data plans and free voice calls for life.
The move forced rivals to slash their tariffs and scramble to match the deep pockets of Jio, which is backed by Ambani's vast energy-to-chemicals conglomerate Reliance Industries and picked up 100 million subscribers in its first six months
Bharti's acquisition is the latest movement towards consolidation in India's telecoms sector as major players try to position themselves to best face the tough new environment.
The move, which still needs to be approved by regulators, will enhance its coverage, the company said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), and see Telenor exit India.
“The proposed acquisition will include transfer of all of Telenor India's assets and customers, further augmenting Airtel's overall base and network,” the Indian firm said in the statement.
Last month British mobile phone behemoth Vodafone announced that it was in talks to merge its Indian unit with Mumbai-based Idea Cellular in its own move to counter Jio's rise.
That deal would create India's largest telecoms company. Global brokerage firm CLSA estimated that the pair would command a combined 43 percent share of market revenue, ahead of Airtel, which is currently the market leader, on 33 percent.
Reliance Communications — owned by Ambani's brother Anil Ambani — and Tata Teleservices, part of the sprawling salt-to-steel Tata conglomerate, are also reportedly in talks to join forces.
Reliance merged with telecom operator Aircel in September last year. Bharti Airtel's shares surged more than five percent in Mumbai morning trade following the Telenor deal announcement.
“The decision to exit India has not been taken lightly,” Sigve Brekke, Telenor Group CEO, said in the statement.
“After thorough consideration, it is our view that the significant investments needed to secure Telenor India's future business on a standalone basis will not give an acceptable level of return,” he added.
Telecoms analyst Baburajan Kizhakedath said Telenor was quitting India because the intense competition meant there was no scope for growth. “The Airtel-Telenor deal is probably the best exit route for Telenor,” he told AFP.


Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Found out what’s going on in Norway on Tuesday with the Local’s short roundup of important news.

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
The northern lights in Tromsø. Photo by Lightscape on Unsplash

One in ten international students in Norway has had Covid-19

Ten percent of overseas students studying in Norway, compared to just 2.9 percent of Norwegian students, have had Covid-19, according to the Students Health and Well Being Survey (SHoT).

Some 62,000 thousand of Norway’s 300,000 students responded to the survey.

READ MORE: Are Norway’s Covid-19 numbers on track for reopening?

Overall, nearly three percent said that they been infected with the Coronavirus, just over half have had to self isolate, and 70 percent took tests.

Woman in her 40’s charged with murder

A woman has been charged with murder in Halden, southeast Norway after a body was found in an apartment in the towns centre.

She will be questioned on Tuesday. A public defender has been appointed. 

Six police cars attended the scene at a small housing association in the centre of Halden.

A person found in the same apartment is being questioned as a witness.

Network provider Telenor’s revenues down 2.1 billion kroner compared to last year

Telenor’s revenues are down 2.1 billion in the first quarter and the company has written of its 6.5 billion kroner investment in Myanmar following Februarys military coup.

The mobile network operator became one of the first foreign providers in the country and had gained a 35 percent market share.

However, the country’s new military regime shut down the mobile network on March 15th.

“In Myanmar, we are experiencing a confusing and uncertain situation. We are deeply concerned about the development in the country,” The company stated in its quarterly report.

Norway and Sweden in reindeer border dispute

Swedish Sami reindeer herders will appear in court this week in a case against the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

The Swedish Sami herders believe they have exclusive rights to grazing areas across the Norwegian border because they have lived in the surrounding area for hundreds of years. The Norwegian government rejects these claims.

The reindeer grazing convention will be central to the case; the convention facilitates mutual cross-border grazing for reindeer herds.

Sweden withdrew from the convention in 2005. However, Norway enshrined the convention in law in 2005.

483 Coronavirus infections recorded

On Monday, 483 new cases of Covid-29 were registered, an increase of 75 compared to the average of the previous week.

READ ALSO: Norway considers lifting measures for people who have had their first Covid vaccine 

This is down from 1150 cases registered during the peak of Norway’s third wave on March 16th.

This is partly because fewer infections are registered during weekends and public holidays, causing an uptick on Mondays.