Ice.net owner Access Industries named as backer of recent spectrum winner Telco Data

10 Dec 2013

Access Industries, owner of Norwegian mobile broadband provider Ice.net (formerly Nordisk Mobiltelefon), has been revealed as the company behind Telco Data, which last week was named as one of the winners in the state’s 800MHz, 900MHz and 1800MHz frequency auction. According to Telecoms.com, which cites Norwegian IT publication Dagens IT, the registration papers for Telco Data confirmed the link between the companies, with Telco Data’s parent company named as AINMT, which is itself controlled by Access Industries, a holding company founded by Ukrainian-American billionaire Leonard Blavatnik. Separately, with Telco Data’s corporate backing now public knowledge, Reuters reports that the local telecoms regulator the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority (NPT) believes the results of the auction will boost competition. Torstein Olsen, head of the watchdog, was quoted as saying: ‘This will clearly contribute to reinforce competition … It is no longer a secret that Access Industries is the company behind [Telco Data]. It has serious plans for entering the Norwegian market and we think it is very good.’

Meanwhile, the NPT has, in line with its previous plans, outlined the financial details of the recent spectrum auction, confirming that the sale raised a total of NOK1.784 billion (USD297 million) for state coffers. Telco Data paid the most for its frequencies, offering NOK705 million for 2×10MHz in the 800MHz band, 2×5MHz in the 900MHz band and 2×20MHz in the 1800MHz band. Mobile market leader Telenor Norge paid the least, having bid just over NOK453 million for 2×10MHz in the 800MHz, 2×5MHz in the 900MHz and 2×10MHz in the 1800MHz band, while NetCom bid almost NOK627 million for a batch of frequencies of identical sized bandwidth to Telenor’s. Payments for the new concessions are now required within ten days, with the spectrum itself available for use from 1 January 2014.

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