TeliaSonera hails success of 'ambitious' Norwegian merger

TeliaSonera said the merger of its Norwegian operations with Tele2 Norway could be judged a success, with almost 300,000 former Tele2 customers electing to become subscribers of its NetCom brand in six months.

The Tele2 brand was therefore officially removed from the market on Nov. 20 -- ahead of the original plan to shut down the brand at the end of the year.

Abraham Foss, CEO of TeliaSonera Norway, described the project as incredibly ambitious and complex and said he was very pleased with the result.

"The former Tele2 customers can now surf at high speed and enjoy our top-notch mobile network with its 95 percent 4G coverage," he said.

Hanne Løvstad, vice president for consumer at NetCom, conceded that not all Tele2 clients had opted for NetCom.

"I completely understand that some of them have chosen other brands. Luckily, most of them chose other brands within TeliaSonera, such as OneCall and Chess, so at least they are within our company," Løvstad said.

TeliaSonera's plan to buy Tele2 Norway was approved in February this year by the Norwegian Competition Authority (NCA), although approval was subject to concessions, including the conclusion of a roaming agreement with new entrant Ice Communication Norge and the sale of Tele2's mobile network and Network Norway to Ice. Network Norway was part of Tele2 and had about 90,000 business subscriptions.

Norway also last week started an auction of 1800 MHz frequencies, resuming a process that was postponed because of the Tele2 Norway acquisition. The Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority (Nkom) said it plans to disclose the auction participants and winning bids once the auction closes.

Meanwhile in a separate announcement, TeliaSonera said Dan Strömberg, currently CEO of Omnitel in Lithuania, has been appointed head of TeliaSonera Estonia and CEO for Eesti Telekom. Valdo Kalm, the current CEO of Eesti Telekom, will take on a role as senior advisor for 'Region Europe', and will continue to report to Robert Andersson, EVP and head of Region Europe.

For more:
- see this TeliaSonera release on the merger
- see this TeliaSonera release on Estonia

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TeliaSonera sees Tele2 Norway's Ice deal as regulatory smoother
Norway postpones 1800 MHz auction for an indefinite period