In collaboration with Fujitsu Finland, Finnish cellco Elisa Mobile (formerly known as Radiolinja) has launched its 3G mobile network, offering data transfer speeds of between 144Kbps and 2Mbps. The service is initially available in the capital Helsinki, as well as Joensuu, Kuopio, Oulu, Salo, Turku, Tampere and Vaasa, and Elisa said it will expand the network to 30 other towns and cities across the country by the end of 2005. The new technology will be available to all Elisa’s 2G customers, and they will not need to change SIM cards to connect to 3G. In addition the network supports the Vodafone Connect 3G/GPRS data card, which enables a remote connection and controlled use of programmes. It is already widely used elsewhere in Europe.
Elisa is the second cellco to roll out a 3G network in Finland in as many months; the country’s largest mobile operator TeliaSonera Finland launched its own 3G offering in October. Both won licences in March 1999 when the government launched the world’s first 3G spectrum auction. Tele2-owned Suomen 3G, and the then separate Telia and Sonera won the other three main licences, while Alands Mobiltelefon and Song Networks won regional concessions.At the end of September 2004 there were 4.89 million mobile subscribers in Finland, with Elisa accounting for 1.37 million of these