Norway’s dominant operator Telenor has launched the country’s first commercial 3G mobile services. The telco says that its high speed UMTS network currently covers more than two million people in 70 cities – equivalent to around half of Norway’s population. By March 2005 coverage will have been extended to 132 cities, while services will be available in all towns with over 200 inhabitants by 2007.
During its introductory campaign, Telenor Mobile is offering free video calls for all subscribers, while non-business customers will pay no more than NOK5 (USD0.82) per day for mobile TV and internet access. From next year consumers will pay NOK20 (USD3.26) per MB with a daily maximum of NOK30. Video calls will be charged at NOK2.24 per minute for contract customers and NOK3.74 per minute for pre-paid users, in addition to a NOK0.99 connection fee. Business customers, meanwhile, will be charged NOK10 per MB for the first 50MB a month, then NOK8 per MB thereafter.
One of the first 3G handsets available in Norway is Nokia’s 6630 model. The tri-band phone can connect via 3G UMTS, 2.5G EDGE or 2G GSM networks. Telenor says other handsets will be launched soon.
Telenor is currently the largest mobile operator in Norway, with 2.56 million subscribers at the end of September. The only other network operator, TeliaSonera-owned NetCom, had 1.25 million customers at the same date, while the country is also home to around 650,000 mobile users who connect via resellers such as Sense and Tele2. UMTS concessions are held by Telenor, NetCom and Hutchison Whampoa subsidiary Hi3G; Telenor’s competitors have yet to announce when they will launch their own 3G services.