Reuters – Augere Set to Sell its Airwaves

Augere, which owns 4G broadband airwaves in one of India’s 22 telecoms zones, has stopped operational activities and is set to sell its airwaves due to regulatory uncertainties plaguing the sector, the Economic Times newspaper reported on Monday, writes Reuters. Augere, which also owns airwaves in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania, named Harbinger Capital, France Telecom, New silk Route and Vedanta Opportunity Fund as its principal shareholders in a statement last August, according to Reuters.

Reuters – Augere, which owns 4G broadband airwaves in one of India’s 22 telecoms zones, has stopped operational activities and is set to sell its airwaves due to regulatory uncertainties plaguing the sector, the Economic Times newspaper reported on Monday.

The company, founded by telecoms industry veteran Sanjiv Ahuja, bought 4G spectrum in a 2010 auction in the Madhya Pradesh telecoms zone for about 1.25 billion rupees ($23 million) and last year awarded a network contract to Ericsson . It was planning to launch services this year.

Augere has stopped all operational activities and has asked employees to go on leave as it is reassessing its plans in the country, the newspaper cited Lars Stork, chief executive of Augere’s Indian unit, as saying.

“There is a lot of uncertainty hanging over the telecoms sector in India … these factors have resulted in our investors stopping funding for our activities here,” he was quoted as saying.

Stork declined comment, when contacted by Reuters.

India’s telecoms sector has been rocked by a massive scandal over grant of telecoms licences bundled with 2G airwaves in a 2008 state grant process, and the Supreme Court has ordered cancellation of all permits granted in 2008. Augere is not involved in the scandal.

The paper cited unnamed industry executives as saying that Augere had approached Indian mobile phone companies to sell its 4G spectrum and said Stork declined comment when asked about it.

Ahuja, a former chief executive of France Telecom’s Orange unit, is listed on Augere’s website as its major shareholder. In February, he stepped down as the chief executive of U.S. broadband start-up LightSquared, which filed for bankruptcy protection this month.

LightSquared is 96-percent owned by hedge fund manager Philip Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners.

Augere – which also owns airwaves in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania – named Harbinger Capital, France Telecom, private equity New silk Route and Vedanta Opportunity fund as its principal shareholders in a statement last August. Its latest shareholding was not immediately known. ($1 = 54.4750 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy in NEW DELHI; Editing by Ranjit Gangadharan)