|Type||Public (OMX: TLSN)|
|Key people||Anders Igel, CEO|
|Products||Mobile network operator,|
|Revenue||$10.7 billion USD (FY 2004)|
TeliaSonera AB is the dominant telephone company and mobile network operator in Sweden and Finland, and is also active in other countries in Northern and Eastern Europe, with a total (2004) of 26 million customers, 29,082 employees, sales of 81,937 million SEK, and profit of 12,964 million SEK. It is headquartered in Stockholm and its stocks are traded on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.
TeliaSonera is the result of a merger in 2003 between the Swedish and Finnish telecommunications companies, Telia and Sonera. Telia has a history as a national telephone monopolies before privatisation. Sonera on the other hand use to have monopoly only on trunk network calls, while most (c. 75%) of local telecommunication was provided by private local companies. The separate brand names Telia and Sonera have continued to be used in the Swedish and Finnish national markets respectively. Of the shares, 43.5 % are owned by the Swedish State, 13.2 % by the Finnish State, and the rest by institutions, companies, and private investors in Sweden, Finland and abroad. (See the corporate site.)
The Swedish Kungl. Telegrafverket (Royal telegraph) was founded in 1853, when the first electric telegraph line was established between Stockholm and Uppsala. Sweden was one of few countries where the Bell System never got a strong hold, because Bell's invention was not patented in Sweden and a Swedish private competitor, Allmänna Telefon, was thus able to find an independent equipment supplier in Lars Magnus Ericsson. In this early competition, Telegrafverket with its brand Rikstelefon was a late comer. However, by securing a national monopoly on long distance telephone lines, it was able with time to control and take over the local networks of quickly growing private telephone companies.
A de facto telephone monopoly position was reached around 1920, and never needed legal sanction. In 1953 the name was modernized to Televerket. On July 1, 1992 this huge government agency's regulating functions was split off into Post- och telestyrelsen (PTS), with similar functions as the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. The operation of the national radio and TV broadcast network was spun off into a company named Teracom. On July 1, 1993 the remaining telephone and mobile network operator was transformed into a government-owned shareholding company, named Telia AB. At the height of the dotcom bubble on June 13, 2000, close to one third of Telia's shares were introduced on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, bringing solid cash to the Swedish state.
In the 1980s, Televerket was a pioneering mobile network operator with the NMT system, followed in the 1990s by GSM. Private competition in analog cell phone systems had already broken the telephone monopoly, and the growing Internet allowed more turf for the starting competition. The most important of Telia's Swedish competitors in these areas has been Tele2. When PTS awarded four licenses for the 3rd generation cellular networks in December 2000, Telia was not among the winners, but has later managed to establish an agreement to share Tele2's 3G network.