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Tele2 signs national roaming deal with Telenor in Norway

The two firms invested a further $500m in one another's stock

European operator group Tele2 has signed a national roaming agreement with Telenor Norway for 2G, 3G and 4G connectivity. The operator said in March that it was evaluating its strategic options in Norway after failing to win any spectrum in the country’s latest frequency auction.

The failure to secure 4G spectrum has damaged Tele2’s business in Norway. In June last year, the operator announced that it had signed a contract with infrastructure provider Ericsson to build its nationwide 2G, 3G and 4G networks in the country.

The roaming agreement was signed by Telenor Norway CEO Berit Svendsen and Tele2 Norway CEO Arild Hustad. It will come into force on July 1st 2014, and will apply to the Tele2, One Call, My Call and Network Norway brands.

“This is a clear confirmation that Telenor’s superb coverage, network capacity, and security is valued by other mobile companies in Norway. We are happy to have reached an agreement with Tele2 on national roaming,” said Svendsen.

“The development of a high-capacity nationwide mobile network in Norway requires huge financial resources. This agreement with Tele2 ensures efficient use of resources, particularly in low-density geographic regions,” she added.

Tele2’s Hustad described the agreement as “flexible” and said that it ensures that its customers receive the best possible service in the country.

In December, telecoms consultancy Coleago said that Tele2’s failure to secure 4G spectrum came as a result of the auction format used by Norwegian regulator the NPT. The consultancy’s managing director Graham Friend wrote in a Telecoms.com Soapbox piece about  the potential risks that the NPT was taking in renewing spectrum using a first price sealed bid auction. In that article, he suggested that Norway might see a situation in which an incumbent would be deprived of key spectrum assets.

In an interview with Telecoms.com in March last year, Telenor’s Svendsen was dismissive of network sharing deals. She argued that Telenor’s reputation and brand image means is better off not sharing its prized asset; its network.

“More than 60 per cent of consumers in Norway say that Telenor has the best on network coverage and capacity – this is the most important differentiator that we have,” she said.

“If we start to share networks with other players we lose that, so this is not in our plans right now. Network sharing is something I think is more common if you’re the number two or number three operator rather than number one.”

Telenor Norway is currently the nation’s market leader. It had 3.25 million subscribers as of March 2014, according to Informa’s WCIS, while Tele2’s brand Network Norway had just 1.12 million.

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