New Delhi:  As the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has tightened its noose around Indian companies in the 2G spectrum probe, foreign telecom companies, which ventured into Indian markets, have started thinking of other options.

The companies like Uninor, Etisalat and Virgin mobile, which were eying India as a prospective market, have reportedly started taking their steps back. The CBI probe have further alerted these companies, which are keeping a close eye on the 2G tainted companies like Tatas, Unitech and Swan.

According to sources, the companies are also scared of the government’s tough stand on 2G scam and fear that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) might cancel their licenses.

The government’s step to reduce the license duration from 20 years to 10 years will definitely affect the commercial market of the telecom sector, the sources said.

The sources said, after riding with Tatas for three years, Richard Branson-promoted Virgin Group has also decided to exit from the joint venture company, Virgin Mobile India. The Virgin’s partner in the venture, Tata Teleservices (TTSL) has agreed to buy out 50 per cent stake of the UK-based company for an undisclosed amount.

Further, the two partners will continue with the branding arrangement in near future, as the TTSL will continue to pay a royalty fee to the Virgin for three years, the sources said.

Besides, the cracks in the telecom joint venture Uninor has also come to the fore as the Norway-based company is sidelining 2G-tainted Unitech Telecom Company. No statements have been issued regarding the cancellation of the deal but the future partnership appears to be in a limbo.

If we believe the reports, Swan Telecom is in no better condition. After Unitech, it is also facing probe as the company had sold its shares to Etisalat after getting spectrum allocation.


JPN/Bureau