Telenor ASA
Type Allmennaksjeselskap
Industry Telecommunications
Founded 1855
Headquarters Fornebu, Norway
Key people Jon Fredrik Baksaas (President and CEO), Harald Norvik (Chairman)
Products Fixed line and mobile telephony, internet, digital television, IT services, IPTV
Revenue NOK 94.84 billion (2010)[1]
Operating income NOK 12.50 billion (2010)[1]
Profit NOK 14.33 billion (2010)[1]
Total assets NOK 172.73 billion (end 2010)[1]
Total equity NOK 96.22 billion (end 2010)[1]
Employees 33,220 (end 2010)[1]

Telenor Group is the incumbent telecommunications company in Norway, with headquarters located at Fornebu, close to Oslo. Today, Telenor Group is mostly an international wireless carrier with operations in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Asia, working predominantly under the Telenor brand. At the end of 2010, its 203 million subscribers made it one of the largest mobile phone operators in the world.[2] In addition, it has extensive broadband and TV distribution operations in four Nordic Countries, and a 10-year-old research and business line for Machine-to-Machine technology.



Telenor headquarters in Fornebu, Norway


Telenor started off in 1855 as a state-operated monopoly, named Telegrafverket as a provider of telegraph services. The first ideas for a telegraph were launched within the Royal Norwegian Navy in 1848, but by 1852 the plans were public and the Parliament of Norway decided on a plan for constructing the telegraph throughout the country. Televerket began by building from Christiania (now Oslo) to Sweden (Norway was at that time in a union with Sweden) as well as between Christiania and Drammen. By 1857 the telegraph had reached Bergen (west coast) via Sørlandet (south coast) and by 1871 it had reached Kirkenes (north coast). Cable connections were opened to Denmark in 1867 and to Great Britain in 1869. The telegraph was most important for the merchant marine who now could use the electric telegraph to instantly communicate between different locations, and get a whole new advantage within logistics.[3]


The first telephone service in Norway was offered in 1878 between Arendal and Tvedestrand, while the first international telephone service between Christiania and Stockholm was offered in 1893. Automation of the telephone system was started in 1920 and completed in 1985. In 1946 the first Telex service was offered, and in 1976 satellite telephone connections to oil platforms in the North Sea were installed. In 1980 the first steps to digitalise the telephone network were taken.[4]

Televerket opened its first manual mobile telephone system in 1966, being replaced with the automatic NMT system in 1981 and the enhanced NMT-900 in 1986. Norway was the first country in Europe to get an automatic mobile telephone system. The digital GSM system came into use in 1993; the GSM standard was developed in Norway by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), but no mobile phone manufacturers emerged in the country. The third generation of mobile technology with UMTS system began full operation 2004.[5] The Opera web browser was created in 1994 by Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner and Geir Ivarsøy during their tenure at Telenor. Opera Software was established in 1995 after the pair went on to continue development of their browser.

Deregulation and internationalisation

The corporation changed its name to Televerket in 1969. In 1994, the then Norwegian Telecom was established as a public corporation. The authorities wanted to deregulate the telecom sector in Norway, and sector by sector was deregulated between 1994 to 1998. An attempt to merge Telenor with its counterpart in Sweden, Telia, failed in 1999, while both still were owned by their respective governments. On December 4, 2000 the company was partially privatised and listed on Oslo Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. The privatisation gave the company NOK 15,6 billion in new capital, the Government of Norway owning 77.7% of the company after the privatisation. By 2006 the governments ownership has been reduced to 53%.

In the second half of the 1990s, Telenor became involved in mobile operations in a number of countries: Russia (1994), Bangladesh, Greece, Ireland, Germany and Austria (1997), Ukraine (1998), Malaysia (1999), Denmark and Thailand (2000), Hungary (2002), Montenegro (2004), Pakistan (2004), Slovakia, Czech Republic, Serbia (2006). Operations in Greece, Ireland and Germany were sold in 1999/2000 and profits were re-invested in the emerging markets. In October 2005 Telenor acquired Vodafone Sweden, changing the name to Telenor in April 2006. On 31 July 2006, Telenor acquired 100 per cent share of mobile operator Mobi 63, one of two mobile operations existing in that moment in Serbia for Euro 1.513 billion.


Telenor offers a full range of telecommunication services in Norway, including mobile and fixed telephony as well as Internet access and content. Telenor still dominates the market place in Norway. However, competition has at times been intense in the mobile market and ADSL market, but Telenor remains the largest company in both sectors.

Telenor holds a prominent position in the Scandinavian Broadband and TV market, both with regard to the number of subscribers and to the extent of coverage. The TV distribution is branded Canal Digital.

Telenor used to provide a range of services related to satellite communication, including voice, television and data before its Telenor Satellite Services division was purchased by Vizada in 2007.

Telenor Maritime Radio is responsible for the infrastructure for maritime radio communication in Norway, and also includes five manned coast radio stations whose primary purpose is to monitor the maritime radio traffic (over e.g. VHF and MF bands) and to assist marine vessels in distress.

Telenor Cinclus develops and sells products related to Automatic Meter Reading and other technologies related to machine to machine communication.

Telenor Research and Innovation (Telenor R&I, prior to September 1, 2006 known as Telenor R&D) is Norway's largest research establishment within Information and Communications Technology (ICT), with more than 200 full-time researchers. Telenor R&I has research facilities in Fornebu, Kuala Lumpur, Trondheim and Tromsø. In 2009 Telenor R&I was merged with Global Coordination team, and is now part of the executive entity Telenor Business Development - headed by EVP Morten Karlsen Sørby.

Telenor also owns 51,8% of EDB Business Partner that offers a wide range of IT-services. The company is listed on Oslo Stock Exchange.

Telenor has sold a number of divisions after its privatisation, including Bravida, the former installation division and Findexa, now part of Eniro that is responsible for telephone directories. Also, the browser vendor Opera Software origined in Telenor's R&D department.


Old Style Telenor Mobile SIM

At year-end 2005, Telenor held controlling interests in mobile operations in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Serbia, Ukraine, Hungary, Montenegro, Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Telenor also holds minority interests in mobile operations in Russia, having recently sold a minority share in Austria.

In accordance with Telenor's strategy of consolidating its position in international mobile by obtaining control of selected international mobile operations, and in order to maximize the benefit of cross-border synergies and increase overall profitability, Telenor also made new acquisitions in 2005.

In October 2006, Telenor entered into an agreement with Vodafone Group for the acquisition of subsidiary Vodafone Sweden for a consideration of NOK 8,170 million, including assumption of debt.

Effective from 26 October 2005, Telenor increased its economic stake in Total Access Communication (DTAC) in Thailand to 56.9 per cent. Following further transactions based on mandatory tender offers, Telenor's economic stake was raised to 69.3 per cent by year-end 2005.

Telenor's mobile commitments in Asia and Eastern and Central Europe are becoming increasingly important and to ensure optimal follow-up, Telenor has appointed dedicated Executive Vice Presidents for these regions. Telenor has also strengthened the co-ordination of operational and human resources across all the countries in which the group has operations through the appointment of two new Executive Vice Presidents to the Group Executive Management.

During 2005, Telenor successfully extracted a number of cross-border synergies across the group. Common technologies for optimal spectrum and network utilisation have been successfully implemented at each of the group's operations, and Telenor maintains its focus on adopting new technologies to improve service quality and reduce costs.

In order to harmonise the group's customer orientation across all markets, Telenor has developed a common segmentation model that enables more effective targeting, while also providing greater insight into the global markets. Telenor has developed a framework that provides affiliates with a proven concept of developing target segmented offerings and optimised go-to-market strategies.

Revenues from voice services include traffic charges, interconnection fees, and roaming charges. All of Telenor's mobile operations derive the greatest share of their total revenues from voice services, and Telenor continues to focus on developing new products, services and initiatives to increase Telenor's customer base and encourage higher usage.


In Norway, Telenor provides communications solutions on a retail basis to both residential and business customers. Offers include analogue (PSTN) and digital (ISDN) fixed-line telephony, as well as broadband voice services over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Internet access via PSTN/ISDN and digital subscriber lines (xDSL), value-added services and leased lines. Norway has one of the highest numbers of DSL lines per capita, currently[when?] at over 80% of households and steadily growing.[citation needed]

Through the acquisitions of Bredbandsbolaget[6] and Cybercity, made in July 2005 for NOK 4.5 billion and NOK 1.3 billion, respectively, Telenor has gained a strong position in the fast-growing broadband markets in Sweden and Denmark. Bredbandsbolaget is Sweden's second largest provider of broadband services, offering full triple-play with high-speed Internet, VoIP and Internet Protocol (IP) television services on an all-IP fibre and xDSL network. Cybercity is Denmark's third largest broadband supplier, providing xDSL-based Internet access and voice services to both residential and business customers.

On 8 February 2006, Telenor increased its shareholding in the Swedish residential voice and broadband provider Glocalnet AB by 13.5 per cent, for a consideration of SEK 136 million (NOK 118 million), to secure a 50.1 per cent ownership interest.[7] The acquisition triggered a mandatory offer for all outstanding shares in Glocalnet AB. This offer was valid until 21 April 2006. As at 28 March 2006, Telenor holds a 96.6 per cent ownership interest in Glocalnet.[8]

In the fourth quarter of 2005, Telenor disposed of its operations in the Czech Republic and Slovakia with a loss of NOK 63 million.[citation needed]

In 2009, Norwegian performing rights agency TONO and the Norwegian section of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI Norge) attempted to force Telenor to block the Pirate Bay BitTorrent website. After several court judgements in favour of the ISP, the case was finally dropped, with an admission from TONO that under Norwegian law the ISP cannot be compelled to block access to the site.[9]


Telenor started exploring the M2M potentials in 2000, when Telenor R&D established a project both aimed at technology, services and business models. This was further spurred when Telenor acquired the Swedish mobile company Europolitan, which contained parts of Vodafone's research capabilities in the area. As a result, two separate companies have been established: Telenor Connexion in Karlskrona (aiming higher up in the M2M value chain), and Telenor Objects (aiming further down in the value chain). The initiative has resulted in a substantial market share of Europe's fast-growing M2M market and is being used by Nissan in Europe to connect its customers Electric Cars.[10]


Telenor also operates the national terrestrial broadcast network in Norway, through its subsidiary Norkring. It is also part owner of Norges Televisjon and the content provider RiksTV. Telenor is also the leading provider of satellite broadcasting services in the Nordic region, utilising three geostationary satellites.[citation needed] Telenor's key objective is to further strengthen Broadcast's position in the Nordic region.

Thor is a satellite-family owned by Telenor. On 11 February 2008 the THOR 5 satellite was launched into geostationary orbit by a Proton rocket. The launch was provided by International Launch Services using a launch vehicle built by Khrunichev Space Center.[11] Cato Halsaa, CEO of Telenor Satellite Broadcasting, said the launch, "Demonstrates our commitment to the satellite industry and our firm belief that satellites will continue to play an important role as a distribution platform for TV entertainment." Telenor operates three satellites from its satellite control center at Fornebu (Thor2, Thor3 & Thor5), with Thor6 being launched in 2009.

Telenor Broadcast provides TV distribution services to more than three million households and businesses in the Nordic region, offering basic tier, "minipay" and premium pay-TV services to subscribers with Direct To Home (DTH) satellite dishes. In Norway and Sweden, Telenor also offers basic tier TV services, pay-TV and Internet services to cable TV subscribers, and in Denmark, the same services are marketed through a cable network; OE Kabel TV, acquired in November 2005. In Finland, Telenor offers premium pay-TV services to subscribers with access to digital terrestrial television (DTT). Telenor also offers TV services through privately owned satellite master antenna TV networks (SMATV), which serve multiple dwellings such as housing associations and antenna unions.

Telenor's wholly owned subsidiary Canal Digital is the leading TV content distributor in the Nordic region, offering a wide range of national and international TV channels to households that rely on DTH, cable, DTT or SMATV for their reception of television services.

International activities and markets

Telenor world locations 2009.
Telenor Sweden Stockholm office.

Approximately half of Telenor's employees work outside Norway.


Launched in 1997, Grameenphone was the first Telenor venture in the Asian telecom market.

Today, Grameenphone is the largest mobile provider in Bangladesh, serving more than 28 million subscribers as of third quarter 2010; an increase of 6.7 million since third quarter 2009. Telenor and its partners have boosted network capacity and extended coverage to new and often remote areas, connecting millions of previously unconnected people. Telenor holds 55.8 per cent of Grameenphone. Grameenphone started trading its shares on the stock exchanges in Dhaka and Chittagong on November 16, 2009. The headquarters are located in Dhaka.


In Denmark Telenor owns the following companies: Telenor Denmark which is Denmark's second largest provider of mobile telephony with 1.8 million subscribers and which provides IP telephony and broadband and has 280.000 customers. Tele2 which provides telephony and internet. CBB Mobil which provides low cost prepaid mobile telephony.

On 15 June 2009 Sonofon, Cybercity and Tele2 were unified under one international brand - Telenor.

Furthermore the digital distributor of TV-channels Canal Digital owned by Telenor is also present in Denmark.


Telenor's operations in Finland are fixed datacom and Canal Digital.


The company offers mobile telephony, has 3 million subscribers and a market share of 33%.

Telenor Hungary owns Digitania Zrt., a sms company which was run by the Dutch politician James Sharpe,[12] and which was fined twice by the Hungarian competition authority GVH for misleading customers[13][14]


Uninor had started its mobile services on 3 December 2009, in 21 of the 22 circles in India. Telenor has acquired a 67.25% equity stake in Unitech Wireless, which has the requisite government approvals and licenses to provide mobile services pan-India. It has rolled out its network nation-wide under the brand name Uninor. While the network is growing, it has run into numerous problems with the acquisition and is currently[when?] fighting significant charges that have been levelled against it in the biggest scam in Indian history - the 2G scam.[citation needed]


Telenor holds a 49% stake in DiGi Telecommunications, Malaysia's third largest mobile telephony company.


Telenor Montenegro is Telenor's subsidiary in Montenegro and offers mobile telephony.


Telenor Pakistan is a wholly owned subsidiary that started operations on 15 March 2005 and holds one of six mobile licences in Pakistan. It's also the fastest growing cellular network of Pakistan - this may be attributed to their aggressive marketing and advertising campaign. Currently,[when?] Telenor holds the second largest GSM and the largest GPRS and EDGE coverage in Pakistan which competes with Ufone. with the recent launch of its nationwide EDGE-enabled network. It achieved the third largest retailer network in Pakistan within the 2 years span of its operations and has started operations in northern areas of Pakistan and in Azad Kashmir (AK). Telenor reached its breakeven in the first quarter of 2007. Telenor proactively participated in the earthquake disaster relief, and carried out a campaign for the welfare of flood victims in Balochistan. The current CEO of Telenor Pakistan is Christian Albech and the CTO is Gyorgy Koller.[citation needed]

Russia and CIS

Russia's second largest mobile telephone company is VimpelCom, which Telenor owns about a third of.[15] VimpelCom also operates in Armenia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Georgia. The company is listed on New York Stock Exchange.

For a description of Telenor's legal battle with Alfa Group over VimpelCom and Kyivstar, see: Alfa Group.


Telenor owns 100% of Telenor Serbia, one of the three mobile vendors in Serbia and has a customer base of around 2.99 million. It is second mobile operator in the Serbian market.


Telenor owns a number of different companies in Sweden. Telenor Sverige AB is the result of Telenor's purchase of Vodafone Sweden in 2005, offering mobile telephone services with a market share of approximately 15%. Telenor also owns Bredbandsbolaget, Sweden's second largest provider of broadband and the largest provider of IP telephony. Canal Digital offers TV distribution as well. In 2006 Telenor Sweden purchased Glocalnet, Sweden's fourth largest complete provider of telecom services. Telenor Sverige AB‘s headquarter is located on Campus Grasvik in the southeastern city Karlskrona.


Telenor holds an indirect position in DTAC, a mobile telephony company in Thailand. DTAC currently has about 23 million users which put DTAC as the second-largest mobile operator in the Thai market.


Telenor owns 56.51% of the shares in one of Ukraine's largest GSM operators, Kyivstar.

Probable strategy

The company started commercial operations in Pakistan on 14 March 2005. It will continue its focus on mobile operations in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Asia, become the largest provider of TV and Broadband to customers in Scandinavia, and sell non-core assets outside this scope.

Generally, the company's strong growth has derived from focusing on mobile communication in low-income, but fast-growing markets. These potentials being fulfilled, new incomes could come from either new market entries, or increased revenues from more services in existing emerging markets, from both mobile and broadband services.

Telenor hoped to acquire a sixth mobile operator in Vietnam in 2006,[16] in competition with other global telco's, among them Vimpelcom.[17] Telenor announced to the business newspaper Dagens Næringsliv in 2007 that they are looking at possible prospects for mobile operations in Africa.[18]

Telenor is a sponsor of Rosenborg BK.


Norwegian Internet Exchange

In June 2007 Telenor announced that it would withdraw from the Norwegian Internet Exchange (NIX). It would allow other internet service providers to connect to Telenor's own exchange point, but wants to be able to charge content providers, like NRK or Schibsted, for prioritised access to their network. The Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority stated they would look at the legality of this move,[19] but concluded that the withdrawal from NIX would not negatively affect the Norwegian Internet infrastructure.[20] This raised demands that the network division be demerged from Telenor and made a separate company.[21] Critics feel that this move compromises the network neutrality of Norway,[22] especially since Telenor has a 57% market share domestically.[23] Telenor chose not to fulfill their threats, and continue to connect to NIX through a ten gigabit ethernet connection.

Grameen Bank gentlemen's agreement

After Muhammad Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, he claimed during his visit in Norway to receive the prize that Grameen Bank had a gentlemen's agreement with Telenor where Telenor was to sell part of GrameenPhone to the bank.[citation needed] Telenor was not interested in fulfilling this agreement, arguing it was not juridically binding.[citation needed]

Illegal VoIP Operations

Telenor's subsidiary Grameenphone was fined multiple times and later sued because they participated in illegal VOIP operations. VOIP operations went against the BTRC's (Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission ) rules and as a result Grameenphone's offices were also raided in the process. BTRC claimed that the regulator and government was denied large revenue which Telenor/Grameenphone earned through these activities. Shortly after, Grameenphone's profits fell 32% when BTRC forced Grameenphone to cease VOIP operations.[citation needed]

Use of child labor and hazardous working conditions

A Danish TV documentary has revealed miserable working conditions and environmental violations at companies in Bangladesh that act as suppliers to GrameenPhone. Employees were shown working with hazardous chemicals and heavy metals virtually without protection. Workers were as young as 13 years, a clear violation of child labour laws. The firms were caught allowing polluted waste water to spill into nearby rice fields. And in one case, a worker was killed when he fell into an unsecured pool of acid.[citation needed]

Telenor opted to reveal some of the findings of the documentary even before it was aired.[24]

Muhammad Yunus

Nobel Peace Prize recipient and co-owner of Grameenphone, Muhammad Yunus, was considering taking legal action against Telenor, for the company's failure to stamp out the use of child labour by its subcontractors in Bangladesh. In a press release published on September 4, 2008, Yunus wrote that:

-Neither I nor Grameenphone can accept this conduct. Twice the authorities in Bangladesh have found the company not to be in compliance with the current legislation of the country.

Telenor's CEO, Jon Fredrik Baksaas, has promised to look into the matter.[25]

Legal battles with Alfa Group

For a detailed description of Telenor's legal battle with Alfa Group over VimpelCom and Kyivstar, see: Alfa Group.

Telenor stake in Russian mobile phone company Vimpelcom were seized in April 2009 after Telenor refused to pay a $1.7 billion in damage compensation to Russian owner Farimex Ltd.[26] In October 2009, Telenor and Alfa Group reached an agreement that envisions an end to all ongoing legal disputes concerning VimpelCom and Kyivstar.[27]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Annual Report 2010". Telenor. Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  2. ^ "Fourth quarter 2010: Strong momentum confirmed in fourth quarter". News release (Telenor). 8 February 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  3. ^ Pryser, Tore (1999) Norsk Historie 1814-1860, volume four of Norsk historie. Det Norske Samlaget, Oslo ISBN 82-521-5184-1
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Investor AB - pressmeddelande". Cision Wire. Retrieved 2005-05-23. 
  7. ^ "Telenor – press release". Cision Wire. Retrieved 2006-02-08. 
  8. ^ "Telenor – press release". Cision Wire. Retrieved 2006-03-28. 
  9. ^ "Pirate Bay legal action dropped in Norway". Computerworld UK. 2010-03-15. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "ILS Proton successfully launches THOR 5 satellite". ILS. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ (Dutch)
  15. ^ Berglund, Nina. "Telenor keen to exit Russia". Aftenposten. Retrieved 21 August 2008. 
  16. ^ "Telenor sees improved prospects for entering Vietnam". Cellular News. 7 December 2006. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  17. ^ Computerworld: Vimpelcom snart i Vietnam (Vimpelcom soon in Vietnam).
  18. ^ Afrika neste for telenor - December 17, 2007.
  19. ^ Dagens Næringsliv. "Vil granske Telenor" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 28 June 2007. 
  20. ^ Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority. "Telenors samtrafikkavtaler for internettrafikk" (in Norwegian). 
  21. ^ Nettavisen. "EU vil splitte telegiganter" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 26 July 2007. 
  22. ^ Dagbladet. "Din frie adgang til nettet er truet" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 26 July 2007. 
  23. ^ Dagens IT. "Sjekk naboenes bredbåndslinjer" (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 26 July 2007. 
  24. ^ Addressing unacceptable working conditions in Bangladesh:[dead link]
  25. ^ Norway Mail: Threatening Telenor with legal action to gain control over company
  26. ^ Seized Telenor stake in a Russian company moves toward sale New York Times, 19 June 2009
  27. ^ Telenor - «Telenor and Altimo to Create a Leading Emerging Markets Mobile Operator», October 5, 2009.

External links

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