TeliaSonera CEO concerned by growing iPhone, Android dominance

Having announced strong fourth-quarter profits--up 8 per cent from a year ago--the CEO of TeliaSonera then decided to warn the wireless industry about the developing duopoly that Apple and Google are creating in the smartphone market.

According to TeliaSonera CEO Lars Nyberg, while the company has benefited from the demand for data services in its Nordic markets, boosted by fast-growing laptop and smartphone adoption, he admitted to the Financial Times that he was increasingly worried that rivals to the iPhone and Android would fade away and let the two companies dictate the market.

By raising this issue TeliaSonera joins other European operators that have registered their unease with Apple's and Google's aggressive approach to dominating the high-end sector. The operator said that smartphones now account for nine out of 10 handsets it sells in Sweden.

Nyberg also called for Nordic consumers to look towards regional handset developers, such as Sony Ericsson and Nokia, as viable alternatives with the hope that they could ward off the U.S.-based competition.

Responding to Nokia's continuing plight, the CEO said, "I would not count them [Nokia] out," adding, "It looks like Android and Apple right now, but things can change very fast in this industry."

Commenting on the success of its LTE network, the first in the world when it launched in late 2009, the CEO admitted that uptake of the high-speed broadband service has been slow, with only a few thousand subscribers signed up so far, but he denied the service had been a failure. "I'm convinced 4G will be very successful, but it will take a lot of time," he said.

In other TeliaSonera news, Sweden's minority government said it has has no plans right now for a further sale of shares in the company. Additionally, the operator said it will cut 800 jobs in 2011, mainly from its older fixed broadband business. 

For more:
- see this Financial Times article
- see this Reuters article
- see this Business Week article

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