Swedish 3G reaches 85% of population

2 Dec 2005

According to telecoms regulator the Post & Telestyrelsen (PTS), 85% of Swedes are covered by 3G services, giving the country the best coverage in Europe ahead of the UK (approximately 75%) and Italy (60%), respectively. The PTS’s figures come from a report on the worldwide development of UMTS commissioned through Stelacon. Despite the positive development though, Sweden’s 3G operators still have more to do to comply with the terms of their licence awards in December 2000. The concessions stipulated that the operators must have coverage of at least 8.86 million people (99.98% of the population) by December 2003, but despite being allowed to share the rollout costs between themselves, the cellcos were pessimistic about meeting the deadline and lobbied the PTS for an extension. In May 2004 the regulator relented and granted them a six-month extension – until the end of 2004 – in which to rectify ‘deficiencies’ in their service coverage before imposing injunctions or fines. The following month Hi3G, Vodafone, Svenska UMTS, Tele2 and TeliaSonera jointly applied for another amendment to their licence conditions, so that rollout would be on a graduated basis ending 31 December 2007, but this was rejected by the PTS. In December 2004 the PTS ruled that the licence holders had not satisfied the requirements and formally warned them that it they did not comply within two months they would be hit with a default fine.

Sweden