History of Telia Company

This is where we share our fascinating history of Telia Company. It’s a journey from the telegraph to the telephone, from sms to social media. From copper to fiber and NMT to 4G. We’re proud of creating great things for people and companies. For being part of making today´s society what it is.

1980

  • Introduction of AXE in Sweden

    Introduction of AXE in Sweden

    Installation of AXE switches and a digital telephone network starts in Sweden. It takes 18 years to complete.

1981

  • Swedish inauguration of NMT

    Swedish inauguration of NMT

    NMT 450, the Nordic Mobile Telephone system is introduced in Sweden providing a pioneering roaming service in the Nordic region.
  • Mobile competition in Sweden

    Mobile competition in Sweden

    The first competitor to Swedish Telecom, the conglomerate Kinnevik with the brand Comvik, appears in the unregulated Swedish marketplace.

1982

  • NMT in Finland

    NMT in Finland

    NMT 450 is opened in Finland offering Nordic roaming. This service lasts till 2002.

1984

  • Large scale introduction of fibre optic cable

    Large scale introduction of fibre optic cable

    Optical fibre cables dominate Swedish Telecom’s expansion of long–distance communications.
  • Datapak services are introduced

    Datapak services are introduced

    Both in Finland and Sweden, the first packet switched network services are introduced.

1985

  • Competition for telephones on the Swedish market

    Competition for telephones on the Swedish market

    The market for fixed line telephone sets is opened to competition in Sweden.
  • Swedish paging service

    Swedish paging service

    Minicall, a radio paging service with its own transmitter network, is launched in Sweden.

1986

  • More capacity for NMT in Sweden

    More capacity for NMT in Sweden

    The success of NMT requires the installation of NMT 900 for capacity needs in Sweden.
  • Mobile data network for Swedish companies

    Mobile data network for Swedish companies

    Mobitex, a pioneering in–house mobile data network for corporations is launched in Sweden.

1987

  • Finnish e-mail service

    Finnish e-mail service

    The Finnish Telebox email service is opened connected to an X.400 gateway.

  • NMT 900 in Finland

    NMT 900 in Finland

    NMT 900 is introduced to alleviate congestion due to the market success.

1990

  • First step to separate P & T from the state

    First step to separate P & T from the state

    Finnish P & T is made into a state business enterprise outside the state budget.
  • Finnish distribution of GSM licenses

    Finnish distribution of GSM licenses

    Two GSM operators are licensed, P & T and Radiolinja.

1991

  • Entering Estonia

    Entering Estonia

    P & T and Swedish Telecom jointly enter the telecom markets in Estonia.

1992

  • Launch of GSM

    Launch of GSM

    GSM 900 in Sweden is opened by Swedish Telecom, Comvik and Europolitan. In Finland, P & T launches its GSM service, a year later than Radiolinja.
  • Entering the Latvian mobile market

    Entering the Latvian mobile market

    Swedish Telecom and Finnish P & T jointly enter the mobile market in Latvia.
  • Global data services

    Global data services

    Infonet Finland is set up by P & T to provide global data services.

1993

  • Modernised legislation in Sweden

    Modernised legislation in Sweden

    A first Swedish Telecom Act and a revised Radiocommunications Act deregulates the market and Swedish Telecom is corporatised into Telia AB.
  • Entering Russia

    Entering Russia

    P & T and Swedish Telecom set up North West GSM in Russia with Telenor and Russian partners.
  • Entering the Latvian fixed market

    Entering the Latvian fixed market

    P & T and Cable & Wireless win the contest for the network operator Lattelekom. In 1998 Cable & Wireless sold its share to Sonera.

1994

  • P & T becomes PT Finland

    P & T becomes PT Finland

    Finnish P & T is converted into the holding company PT Finland with two subsidiaries, Finland Post and Telecom Finland. Telecom Finland also establishes a subsidiary in Sweden.
  • Entering Turkey

    Entering Turkey

    Turkcell starts GSM in Turkey. Telecom Finland has a 34 percent share in the company.
  • Telia divests manufacturing

    Telia divests manufacturing

    Telia sells its factories in Teli AB to Ericsson and terminates its own manufacturing.

  • Competition in Finnish fixed telephony

    Competition in Finnish fixed telephony

    Long-distance and international fixed telephony is opened to competition.
  • Internet and SMS for Finnish customers

    Internet and SMS for Finnish customers

    Internet dial-up access is offered by Telecom Finland to private customers. SMS in GSM is started both for messaging and for access to other services.

1995

  • Joining the European Union

    Joining the European Union

    Both Sweden and Finland join the European Union in 1995. All EU telecom markets are opened to competition by 1998.
  • Entering Lebanon

    Entering Lebanon

    Libancell opens GSM in Lebanon with a 14 percent Telecom Finland share, sold in 2002.

  • Entering neighbouring countries

    Entering neighbouring countries

    Telia establishes subsidiaries in Denmark, Norway and Finland in 1995–96 with a broad range of activities.
  • Dial-up Internet in Sweden

    Dial-up Internet in Sweden

    Telia offers dial-up Internet access, which has proved a success for the competitor Tele2.

1996

  • Internet portal for Swedish customers

    Internet portal for Swedish customers

    Telia launches Passagen, an Internet service portal helping customers to find links to services.

  • Finnish telecom restructuring

    Finnish telecom restructuring

    The Finnish private telecom sector is reorganised into Finnet. Helsinki Telephone leaves later to form Elisa, giving Finland three major telecom groups.

  • Entering the Polish fixed market

    Entering the Polish fixed market

    Together with partners, Telia forms the fixed line operator Netia. After severe profitability problems TeliaSonera sold its interests in Netia 2003 and 2004.

1997

  • Introduction of GSM 1800

    Introduction of GSM 1800

    GSM 1800 is launched in Finland to relieve congestion in the GSM service. Telia also opens GSM 1800 service in Sweden. Dual band phones provide seamless transition.
  • Telia starts negotiations with Telenor

    Telia starts negotiations with Telenor

    Exploratory discussions on closer business cooperation with Norwegian Telenor are initiated.
  • Entering Hong Kong

    Entering Hong Kong

    P Plus opens GSM 1800 in Hong Kong with a 28 percent Telecom Finland share, sold in 2002.

  • Youths embrace text messaging

    Youths embrace text messaging

    In Sweden SMS text messaging is offered by GSM. Young people pick up the service.

1998

  • Telecom Finland becomes Sonera

    Telecom Finland becomes Sonera

    Telecom Finland is renamed Sonera to strengthen the brand. Sonera is listed on the stock exchange and the state holding is reduced to 77.8 percent.
  • Entering Lithuania

    Entering Lithuania

    Telia and Sonera buy a majority share in fixed and mobile services in Lithuania.
  • Broadband in large Finnish cities

    Broadband in large Finnish cities

    ADSL broadband for companies over existing fixed lines is being launched in large Finnish cities.

1999

  • Unsuccessful Telia Telenor merger

    Unsuccessful Telia Telenor merger

    Telia and Telenor merges but suffers a dramatic breakup by end-year. Telia leaves Norway and sells its fixed line business there to Enitel.
  • Finnish allocation of 3G licenses

    Finnish allocation of 3G licenses

    Four mobile operators get 3G licenses in a beauty contest: Sonera, Radiolinja, Telia and Suomen 3G.

  • Investment in global traffic

    Investment in global traffic

    Telia International Carrier is a new business unit for global telecom traffic transport.

  • WLAN for laptops and ADSL broadband in Sweden

    WLAN for laptops and ADSL broadband in Sweden

    Homerun is a WLAN broadband service from Telia offering 11 Mbit/s for laptop computers. ADSL offers broadband capacity over the fixed network.

  • Introduction of WAP protocol

    Introduction of WAP protocol

    Sonera pioneers WAP protocol for mobile information services, making it possible to connect to the Internet from a mobile phone.

2000

  • Telia to the stock market

    Telia to the stock market

    After the Telia-Telenor break-up, Telia is privatised and introduced on the stock exchange.
  • Entering Eurasia

    Entering Eurasia

    Fintur is founded by Sonera, Turkcell and Çukurova and takes over Turkcell´s mobile subsidiary companies in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Moldova.

  • Swedish allocation of 3G licenses

    Swedish allocation of 3G licenses

    In December, four 3G licenses are awarded in a beauty contest but Telia fails to obtain one.

  • Re-entering Norway

    Re-entering Norway

    Telia acquires control of Netcom, a mobile operator in Norway, in a surprise move.
  • The IT bubble bursts

    The IT bubble bursts

    Many countries launch bidding procedures for 3G licenses and prices for licenses skyrocket. However, the IT hype is deflated and many operators face financial difficulties.

2001

  • Financial troubles for Sonera

    Financial troubles for Sonera

    The race for 3G licenses and investments gives Sonera serious financial problems. Despite new capital, Sonera becomes an acquisition target.
  • Telia in 3G cooperation with competitor

    Telia in 3G cooperation with competitor

    Telia forms a joint network company with Tele2 to provide 3G services in Sweden, based on Tele2´s license.

  • Further activities in Russia

    Further activities in Russia

    Sonic Duo with a 35 percent Sonera participation starts GSM services in Moscow.
  • Fixed networks to Song Networks

    Fixed networks to Song Networks

    Part of Sonera’s fixed network services in Sweden and also Telia Finland’s fixed network activities are sold to Song Networks.

  • Large staff reductions at Telia

    Large staff reductions at Telia

    Telia starts focusing on core activities and divests network construction, management and support. 11 000 people cease to be employed by Telia.

2002

  • Telia and Sonera merger

    Telia and Sonera merger

    Telia and Sonera are merged and TeliaSonera is created on 9 December. Large write-downs are made in Telia’s International Carrier an Sonera’s 3G investments in Europe.
  • MegaFon a nationwide Russian mobile operator

    MegaFon a nationwide Russian mobile operator

    MegaFon is established through a merger of North West GSM, in which Telia and Sonera hold stakes, with Sonic Duo, in which Sonera is a partner.
  • Increased ownership in Fintur

    Increased ownership in Fintur

    Sonera, Turkcell and Çukurova Group split the Fintur holding company: Sonera and Turkcell retains Fintur. Fintur becomes a subsidiary of TeliaSonera.

2003

  • Finnish Auria group acquisition

    Finnish Auria group acquisition

    TeliaSonera acquires the remaining 45% of the Finnish Auria group. TeliaSonera’s share of the Finnish fixed service market goes from 26 to 31%.

  • Increased shareholding in Lithuanian Omnitel

    Increased shareholding in Lithuanian Omnitel

    TeliaSonera increases its stake to 90% in the Lithuanian mobile market by acquiring the 35% share of Motorola in the operator Omnitel.
  • Nordic divestitures

    Nordic divestitures

    As a consequence of the the merger between Telia and Sonera, the Swedish cable TV operator Com Hem AB is sold to EQT Northern Europe and Telia Mobile Finland is sold to Finnet.

  • Eesti Telefon changes to Elion

    Eesti Telefon changes to Elion

    The Estonian fixed network operator Eesti Telefon changes its name to Elion and the profile is revamped to reflect the broader service portfolio.

2004

  • Strong growth for Fintur in Eurasia

    Strong growth for Fintur in Eurasia

    Net sales in Fintur, in which TeliaSonera is majority owner, experienced a 49 percent growth.

  • Orange in Denmark acquired

    Orange in Denmark acquired

    TeliaSonera acquires France Telecom’s subsidiary Orange Denmark for EUR 606 million. This brings Telia Denmark to third place in the mobile market.

  • 3G UMTS services starts in Sweden and Finland

    3G UMTS services starts in Sweden and Finland

    TeliaSonera´s 3G UMTS services are provided in Sweden on the basis of the network of Svenska UMTS-nät, jointly owned by TeliaSonera and Tele2.

  • Omnitel in Lithuania fully owned

    Omnitel in Lithuania fully owned

    TeliaSonera acquires the remaining 10 percent share in the mobile operator Omnitel. This makes Omnitel a wholly owned subsidiary.

2005

  • IP-TV launched in Sweden

    IP-TV launched in Sweden

    Digital TV over broadband is launched in Sweden, making TeliaSonera a triple play provider.

  • SurfPort launched

    SurfPort launched

    The mobile service portal SurfPort is launched in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Lithuania within information, news and entertainment.

  • 3G UMTS services launched in Norway, Estonia and Latvia

    3G UMTS services launched in Norway, Estonia and Latvia

    NetCom in Norway, EMT in Estonia and LMT in Latvia launch 3G UMTS mobile network services.

  • Major storm damages in Sweden

    Major storm damages in Sweden

    A major winter storm over Southern Sweden wreakes havoc with fixed and mobile services over a large geographical area.

2006

  • Fixed broadband operator in Norway

    Fixed broadband operator in Norway

    TeliaSonera acquires the listed company NextGenTel and becomes the second fixed broadband operator in Norway offering triple play services.

  • Yoigo in Spain starts3G services

    Yoigo in Spain starts3G services

    TeliaSonera increases its share of Xfera Móviles and opens up 3G services under the Yoigo brand. The network covers 26 percent of the population.
  • Geocell launches 3G services and EDGE

    Geocell launches 3G services and EDGE

    Geocell in Georgia launches the first 3G service in Eurasia. EDGE is introduced in GSM completing its introduction in all TeliaSonera markets.

2007

  • Eurasian expansion

    Eurasian expansion

    Operators Coscom in Uzbekistan, Indigo and Somoncom in Tajikistan and a minority stake in Roshan of Afghanistan are bought from MCT Corp in USA.

  • Turbo 3G launched in the Nordic and Baltic markets

    Turbo 3G launched in the Nordic and Baltic markets

    Turbo 3G HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) technology, providing an increase in speed up to around 7 Mbps is launched in the Nordic and Baltic markets.
  • New CEO for TeliaSonera

    New CEO for TeliaSonera

    Lars Nyberg takes up the post as CEO of TeliaSonera on September 3rd, replacing Anders Igel, who left the company on July 31st after disagreement with the board.
  • Swedish state ownership reduced

    Swedish state ownership reduced

    The Swedish state sells 8%of its shares in TeliaSonera reducing its ownership from 45.3 to 37.3%. The Finnish share remains at 13.7%.

2008

  • Apple iPhone boosts mobile services

    Apple iPhone boosts mobile services

    The sale of Apple iPhone 3G and USB modems in the Nordic and Baltic areas boosts brands considerably and increases data traffic in the 3G networks.

  • France Telecom bid on TeliaSonera

    France Telecom bid on TeliaSonera

    A non-binding indicative offer is made by France Telecom to acquire TeliaSonera at a price of about SEK 56 per share. It is rejected and withdrawn.

  • Entering Nepal and Cambodia

    Entering Nepal and Cambodia

    TeliaSonera acquires a controlling interest in the mobile operators Spice Nepal (Mero Mobile) and Applifone (Star-Cell) in Cambodia from Visor Group.

  • Skanova Access new subsidiary in Sweden

    Skanova Access new subsidiary in Sweden

    A infrastructure subsidiary is set up in Sweden within Broadband Services to ensure requirement for transparency and equal access to networks and ducts.

2009

  • First 4G mobile networks introduced

    First 4G mobile networks introduced

    The world’s first 4G (LTE) commercial mobile networks are opened in the Stockholm and Oslo city centres, increasing speeds by up to ten times.

  • Eesti Telekom fully owned

    Eesti Telekom fully owned

    A TeliaSonera cash offer for outstanding shares brings ownership from 60 to 98 percent and eventually 100 percent in early 2010.

  • Joint company with Altimo formed

    Joint company with Altimo formed

    TeliaSonera and the Russian investment company Altimo agree to combine their ownership interests in Turkcell and MegaFon in a new company.

2010

  • 4G services widened

    4G services widened

    Commercial 4G (LTE) mobile services are launched in major cities in Finland, Denmark and Estonia.

  • Spotify music service introduced

    Spotify music service introduced

    The Spotify music service is introduced in Sweden and Finland offered in the mobile as well as on broadband and IPTV.

  • Telia Stofa in Denmark divested

    Telia Stofa in Denmark divested

    TeliaSonera sells its subsidiary Telia Stofa, a cable-TV/broadband provider to Ratos, a private equity company.

  • Digitel in the Philippines sold

    Digitel in the Philippines sold

    The 9.44 percent holding in the fixed network operator Digitel in the Philippines, acquired in 1995, is sold.

2011

  • Unified logo

    Unified logo

    The unified purple logotype is introduced in May across all main brands.

  • Cheaper data roaming

    Cheaper data roaming

    Data roaming fees is decreased dramatically in many countries. In the Nordic and Baltic countries by 90 percent.

  • Large investment in fiber

    Large investment in fiber

    TeliaSonera decides to invest more than SEK 8 billion in fiber until 2014, to meet customers’ demand for high capacity.

  • 4G around the Baltic Sea

    4G around the Baltic Sea

    4G services are offered in seven Nordic and Baltic countries. In many countries TeliaSonera is the first operator to provide this service.

2012

  • Extended TV offering

    Extended TV offering

    The TV offering in Sweden and Finland is extended, by for example introducing HBO – as the first Nordic operator.

  • Russian Megafon goes public

    Russian Megafon goes public

    MegaFon in Russia becomes a listed company and TeliaSonera reduces its ownership to 25.2 percent.

  • Criminal accusations

    Criminal accusations

    TeliaSonera is accused of bribery and money laundering in Uzbekistan and the company is strongly criticized.

  • Norwegian divestment

    Norwegian divestment

    The Norwegian subsidiary NextGenTel is divested.

Welcome to Telia Company 

In 2016, Telia changed its group name to Telia Company. Not to be something else, but to be something more, here to digitalize society and bring the world closer – on the customer´s terms.
Read more

The fight for 3G 

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, 3G licenses were issued across Europe. Some countries chose to allocate them through "beauty contests", while others chose auctions.
Read more

First in the world with 4G

TeliaSonera was the first operator in the world to commercially launch 4G. It was in late 2009, in the city centre of Stockholm and Oslo. A year later, 4G was launched in Finland.
Read more