Norway's largest mobile operator Telenor launched its 4G mobile network across 11 municipalities on Wednesday, playing catch-up with its Swedish-owned rival, NetCom.
Most of the first locations to gain access to Telenor's high-speed mobile network lie within 40 kilometres of the capital Oslo. However, the first batch of 4G-enabled areas also include Bergen and Stavanger on Norway's west coast, and Trondheim in the mid north.
"This marks the start of a new mobile fairy tale which all Norwegians will become part of" — Berit Svendsen, Telenor
Telenor estimates the 4G network, which has maximum top speeds of 40Mbps, will reach one-third of the Norway’s population by the end of this year.
"This marks the start of a new mobile fairy tale which all Norwegians will become part of. This year more than one in three Norwegians will have 4G coverage from Telenor, but already in 2015 as many as nine in 10 will have 4G from Telenor," said Berit Svendsen, CEO of Telenor Norway.
The transition to 4G was underpinned by a deal to replace the operator's network infrastructure, won by Chinese networking giant Huawei and Cisco's Starent Networks back in 2009. The deal, reportedly worth €170m over six years, ousted former suppliers Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks.
The launch will put an end to the claim by Telenor's rival NetCom, owned by Sweden's TeliaSonera, that it is Norway's only 4G service.
NetCom launched its 4G network, also using Huawei equipment, in Oslo in 2009 and Bergen in 2011.
The company is continuing a busy 3G and 4G upgrade of 4,000 new base stations across the nation with a high concentration of 4G base stations along the southern coastline between Oslo and Stavanger, as well as Bergen and Trondheim.