Uninor, the joint venture telecom company between Unitech and the Telenor Group of Norway, Thursday launched its mobile services.
It also announced low rates of 29 paise for local and 49 paise for STD calls, a move that could further deepen the mobile tariff war. Uninor is the brand name of Unitech Wireless.
The service was launched simultaneously in seven telecom circles -- Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh East, Uttar Pradesh West and Bihar (including Jharkhand).
Uninor said it would launch its operations in Orissa this month and add five more circles early next year.
Uninor introduced two plans for its subscribers -- 'talkmore' at 29 paise base plan and 'callmore' at 29 paise subscription plan. Under the base plan, customers can make local calls at 29 paise a minute and STD calls at 49 paise a minute, with a call set up fee of 39 paise, whereas in subscription plan, local calls will be charged at 29 paise a minute and STD call at 49 paise per minute, with a daily rental of Rs.2. It has no plans to offer the per-second tariff option.
Telenor Group Chief Executive Officer and President Jon Fredrik Baksaas said: "In terms of GSM footprint in a single day, this is the largest greenfield launch operation in telecom history. With launch in seven circles and roaming agreements in place for the rest, we have started our service in India as a pan-Indian national operator."
Unitech Wireless Managing Director Stein-Erik Vellan said Uninor would be retailed at over 2.1 lakh points of sale through its 1,000 exclusive distributors in the seven circles. The company expects 8% market share in terms of subscribers by 2018. It targets EBITDA break-even in three years, and operating cash-flow break-even in the next five years, he added.
About their plans for the forthcoming 3G spectrum auction, he said they were still discussing it, but Uninor would not bid for all-India 3G spectrum license.