Swedish telecoms group Tele2 has announced its consolidated results for the fourth quarter of 2009, and claimed in a statement that it has ‘never been in better financial shape.’ The Stockholm-based mobile, fixed line and broadband operator said: ‘When summarising 2009 we can conclude that our strategy to focus on mobile is paying off… 2010 will be a year when we push our limits further, investing in both newly acquired licences and next generation mobile technology.’ Tele2’s net revenues in Q4 2009 amounted to SEK9.89 billion (USD1.33 billion), down slightly from SEK9.99 billion in the same period of 2008, whilst EBITDA increased by 1% year-on-year to SEK2.19 billion. The group’s Russian mobile division contributed a record SEK695 million to quarterly EBITDA, driven by strong subscriber take-up in its more established regions as well as quicker than expected expansion in additional areas, with a net 1.15 million new Russian customers added in the three-month period. Meanwhile, the ‘Nordic’ business area reported increasing ratios of post-paid customers, led by Tele2 Sweden which added 51,000 net new post-paid mobile accounts in three months, compared to 29,000 in the year-ago quarter. Tele2 also reported that a programme to improve the efficiency of operations in its ‘Western European’ business has achieved positive results, translating to an increase in regional 4Q09 EBITDA to SEK584 million, up from SEK509 million in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Elsewhere, Tele2’s CEO Harri Koponen told Dow Jones Newswires today that the group would be interested in rolling out 4G mobile networks in Russia as soon as the necessary licences were made available. Koponen was quoted by the same news source in November 2009 as saying that the Russian authorities were considering a new wireless frequency tender. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the Swedish firm missed out on a 2100MHz 3G licence in Russia in April 2007 as it was muscled out of the bidding by the country’s three largest cellcos, MTS, Vimpelcom and MegaFon. Tele2 is currently aiming for a 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network launch in Sweden in the fourth quarter of 2010 via its ‘Net4Mobility’ joint venture with Telenor Sweden, utilising the 2600MHz frequency band.