More than 8.86 million Swedes are now covered by TeliaSonera’s W-CDMA network, the company has announced, fulfilling its 3G licence rollout requirements set by telecoms regulator the PTS. TeliaSonera added in a statement that more than 60% of its mobile network has been upgraded with EDGE technology, to provide data and internet services in areas without 3G coverage. EDGE is now available in most major towns and cities, and the telco aims to provide EDGE coverage to 90% of Sweden’s territory by 2008.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database notes that the PTS rejected TeliaSonera’s direct bid for a 3G licence in an auction of 2000 on the grounds of technical feasibility, saying that it had not planned enough base stations to provide sufficient coverage for Sweden’s scattered population. Nevertheless, the telco was quick to form a joint venture, Svenska UMTS-nät, with rival Tele2, which was finalised by mid-March 2001 when the pair signed an agreement to split the cost of UMTS network rollout, whilst retaining their separate brands. In June the new company selected Ericsson as its main infrastructure provider, and in September 2002 TeliaSonera and Tele2 entered into a five-year reciprocal agreement giving the latter access to the other’s GSM network and TeliaSonera rights on the UMTS network. In February 2005 Telia commissioned Nokia for an EDGE rollout, and it began deploying the so-called 2.75G technology later that year.