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.
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.
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.