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TeliaSonera AB is the dominant telephone company and mobile network operator in Sweden and Finland. The company just launched fiber broadband in Denmark, and is also active in other countries in Northern, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Spain, with a total of 106 million mobile customers (2007). It is headquartered in Stockholm and its stocks are traded on the Stockholm Stock Exchange and on the Helsinki Stock Exchange.

Corporate history

TeliaSonera is the result of a 2002 merger between the Swedish and Finnish telecommunications companies, Telia and Sonera. This merger followed shortly after Telia's failed merger with Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor, now its chief competitor in the Nordic countries.

Telia has a history as a state telephone monopoly, before privatisation. Sonera on the other hand used to have monopoly only on trunk network calls, while most (c. 75%) of local telecommunication was provided by telephone cooperatives. The separate brand names Telia and Sonera have continued to be used in the Swedish and Finnish markets respectively. Of the shares, 37 % are owned by the Swedish government, 13.2 % by the Finnish government, and the rest by institutions, companies, and private investors worldwide.

The Swedish Kungl. Telegrafverket (literally: Royal Telegraph Agency) was founded in 1853, when the first electric telegraph line was established between Stockholm and Uppsala. Sweden was one of few countries where the Bell System never got a strong hold, because Bell's invention was not patented in Sweden and a Swedish private competitor, Allmänna Telefon, was thus able to find an independent equipment supplier in Lars Magnus Ericsson. In this early competition, Telegrafverket with its brand Rikstelefon was a latecomer. However, by securing a national monopoly on long distance telephone lines, it was able with time to control and take over the local networks of quickly growing private telephone companies.

A de facto telephone monopoly position was reached around 1920, and never needed legal sanction. In 1953 the name was modernised to Televerket. On July 1, 1992 this huge government agency's regulating functions was split off into Post- och telestyrelsen (PTS), with similar functions as the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. The operation of the state radio and TV broadcast network was spun off into a company named Teracom. On July 1, 1993 the remaining telephone and mobile network operator was transformed into a government-owned shareholding company, named Telia AB. At the height of the dot-com bubble, on June 13, 2000, close to one third of Telia's shares were introduced on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, bringing solid cash to the Swedish state.

In the 1980s, Televerket was a pioneering mobile network operator with the NMT system, followed in the 1990s by GSM. Private competition in analogue mobile phone systems had already broken the telephone monopoly, and the growing internet allowed more opportunities for competitors. The most important of Telia's Swedish competitors in these areas has been Tele2. When PTS awarded four licenses for the 3rd generation mobile networks in December 2000, Telia was not among the winners, but has later established an agreement build a 3G network jointly with Tele2 using Tele2's licence.

During the 2006 Riksdag elections the new Alliance for Sweden (which subsequently won the election, to form a coalition government) stated a policy aim to sell its stake in TeliaSonera.

In the beginning of 2008, TeliaSonera announced measures to save nearly 500 million Euros which would include 2900 redundancies: 2000 from Sweden and 900 from Finland.

TeliaSonera International Carrier (AS1299) is a tier 1 carrier.


TeliaSonera is now the largest Nordic and Baltic fixed voice, broadband and mobile operator by revenue and customer base. It operates Europe's largest and fastest growing wholesale IP backbone (AS1299) and is the 10th largest global mobile group by consolidated customers (including ownership stakes in Turkcell, Yoigo, Megafon, Netcom, and others).


In Denmark TeliaSonera is called Telia. The company started in 1995 and was a merger between Telia Stofa and TeliaSonera.


TeliaSonera has declared that it will dismantle its countryside landline networks. However, Finland’s minister of communications, Suvi Lindén, has demanded that TeliaSonera first commit to a list of conditions pertaining to, among others, emergency calls and broadband speed.


TeliaSonera owns 49% of LMT (24,5% as TeliaSonera AB and 24,5% as Sonera Holding B.V.). TeliaSonera also owns 49% of Lattelecom, who has 23% of LMT.


In Norway Telia at first entered after the deregulation in 1998 as a virtual supplier of fixed telephone and Internet. This was sold to Enitel during the merger attempt with Telenor, but Telia reentered in 2000 with the purchase of one of the two mobile network operators, NetCom. In 2006 it also bought the virtual mobile provider Chess Communication and the Internet service provider NextGenTel.


In Sweden, TeliaSonera operates under the consumer brands Telia and Halebop. On the business side, Skanova Access and Cygate are also used.


TeliaSonera owns 80 percent of the shares and votes in Spice Nepal, the second largest mobile operator in Nepal. Spice Nepal launched its operation in September 2005 and is the second largest mobile operator in Nepal, with around 1.6 million subscriptions and an estimated market share of approximately 41 percent as of August 2008. Spice Nepal’s net sales in 2007 and for the first six months of 2008 were USD 41.1 million and USD 34.1 million, respectively, and EBITDA, excluding non-recurring items, was USD 19.0 million and USD 18.2 million, respectively. Mobile penetration in Nepal, with a population of 28.4 million, is approximately 13 percent.

Acquisition target

France Telecom proposed a SEK 248 billion acquisition offer for TeliaSonera on 5 June, 2008, which was promptly rejected by the company's board.


See also

External links

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