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Norway’s mystery spectrum winner named as Ice.net parent

oslo-norway

The identity of Norway’s mystery spectrum winner has been named in local reports as Access Industries, a holding company founded by Ukrainian-American billionaire Leonard Blavatnik. In 2009, Access Industries acquired mobile data and voice services provider Ice.net in Norway.

The company also owns Ice.net’s partner company Net1 in Sweden and has a controlling stake in Net1 Denmark. It also holds a stake in messaging solutions provider Acision. Telco Data, which appears to be a brand new company, picked up 2 x 10 MHz in the 800 MHz band, 2 x 5 MHz in the 900 MHz band and 2 x 20 MHz in the 1800 MHz band in Norway’s recent spectrum auction.

According to Norwegian IT publication Dagens IT, the company registration papers of Telco Data revealed its parent company to be AINMT, which is controlled by Access Industries. Its subsidiary Ice.net has 103,950 subscribers in Norway as of September 2013, according to Informa’s WCIS Plus service. Market leader Telenor has 3.3 million subscribers, while second placed TeliaSonera has 1.7 million subscribers.

Ice.net focuses on M2M and portable fixed wireless broadband, rather than handset connectivity. The firm’s CTO Gösta Kallner told Telecoms.com in January: “We leave the cities to our rivals and focus exclusively on the rural areas. There’s too much competition otherwise. In urban areas we have below one per cent market share, but in rural areas we have around 30 per cent of market”.

He added that around 70 per cent of the operator’s user base is made up of consumers (wireless broadband) while the remainder are enterprises. But the business side is growing faster than consumer.

Challenger operator Tele2 meanwhile, missed out on spectrum in the auction entirely, and has said it will “now further evaluate the situation after the auction and take the appropriate actions to strengthen its position in the country”.

In June, the operator announced it had signed a contract with Swedish vendor Ericsson to upgrade and expand its existing 2G and 3G networks in Norway. The deal included multi-standard radio base station equipment from the Ericsson RBS 6000 family, LTE RAN software, upgrade of existing 2G and 3G access network software and upgrade of core solutions.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 23rd-26th June 2014, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.


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