OSLO, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor said Thursday that Indian leading wireless operator Bharti Airtel will take over its businesses and 44 million customers in India, public broadcaster NRK reported.
"Airtel takes over our business. We do not earn anything from it. But they also then took over our obligations," Telenor's CEO Sigve Brekke said.
Since April last year, Telenor has tried to solve many problems in the Indian market and on Thursday it was confirmed that the Norwegian telecom giant entered the agreement with Airtel.
Brekke said that he was pleased with the agreement and believed it was in the best interests of Telenor's customers and employees in India.
"Considering what we invested in equipment plus the investments we have made in our operation, the loss is between 24 and 25 billion Norwegian kroner (between 2.88 and 3 billion U.S. dollars). And there are financial expenses on top of that," Brekke said.
Breke added that the decision to exit the Indian market had not been easy.
"The competition has become tougher and payment for licenses has been increased a lot. And especially now when data usage has taken off among customers, we do not have a position that creates profitability," he said.
Telenor India shall for the time being continue to operate as usual, but Airtel and Telenor India will merge during this year when Airtel will take over once all the necessary approvals are received.
Airtel will take over future operational contracts, including contracts for tower lease.
As India's largest mobile operator, Airtel has over 269 million subscribers and a market share of over 33 percent measured in revenues.
"Telenor's customers will be enjoy the benefits of India's largest and fastest mobile network and a number of Airtel's leading products and services," said Gopal Vittal, Bharti Airtel's managing director and CEO for India and South Asia. (1 U.S. dollars=8.32 Norwegian kroner)