Monday, October 31, 2005

The Nordics: no place for non-incumbents

Telenor buying Vodafone Sweden is the latest on a long shopping list involving the Nordic incumbents.

Deals this year:
  • Telenor: buys Vodafone Sweden, starts a multi-brand mobile strategy in Denmark, introduces triple play services over ADSL2+ in Sweden, is interested in a DTT license and buy WiMAX spectrum in Norway, acquires Bredbandsbolaget in Sweden and Cybercity in Denmark, at an earlier stage acquired Canal Digital (pan-Nordic).
  • TeliaSonera: denies market rumours about a possible bid for Telenor and leaves the TDC auction, introduces triple play services over ADSL2+ in Finland and Sweden, acquires Chess/Sense in Norway, at an earlier stage acquired Orange Denmark.
  • TDC: may bid for Finnish mobile operator DNA, acquires Swedish Dotcom, starts an MVNO in Norway on Telenor's network, at an earlier stage acquired Song Networks.
What may be concluded?
  • Vodafone and Orange have left the region. Vodafone now has Partner Networks in every Nordic country, except Norway. Telenor may well be the next partner.
  • Tele2 left Finland. Will it stay in Norway and Denmark?
  • Telenor, TeliaSonera and TDC will lead the consolidation. Several smaller operators could be up for sale, e.g.: NextGenTel (fixed) in Norway, Elisa (primarily mobile) in Finland.
  • No consolidation to be expected among the three incumbents.
  • With Apax et al bound to be the new TDC owners, interesting times are coming.
  • Any large European telco wanting to enter the market would simply need to buy any of the three incumbents. It would face stiff competition but no regulatory hurdles.

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