Finland's Sonera sets date to migrate fixed users to wireless

Sonera, the Finnish business of TeliaSonera, said it will begin to provide wireless voice services in underpopulated areas by Feb. 15. The move is part of the company's plan to migrate customers from its fixed networks onto cheaper wireless networks. The fixed network won't be shut down until Oct. 1, 2010.

Sonera's decision to shut down its fixed network was made earlier this year, and it received approval from Finland's Ministry of Transport and Communications. The move is expected to save the company millions on the replacement of telephone poles and other upgrades to the fixed network.

Sonera's move will likely make it the first former incumbent in Western Europe to adopted a fixed-to-mobile substitution plan publicly. The operator says that as much as half of its fixed network in sparsely populated areas is now idle as the number of customers drops by 10 to 15 percent a year.

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