The latest data emerging from Norway reinforces BMI's view that, although it is one of the highest value markets in the world, on a per capita basis, it is also highly saturated and offers few organic growth opportunities for traditional telecoms players. While new mobile operator Network Norway continues to lure customers away from existing players, two of the country's strongest alternative broadband and internet telephony players have merged and the largest cable TV provider is still understood to be up for sale. Regulatory developments that include mobile termination rate (MTR) cuts and the introduction of wholesale fibre access rules put further pressure on operators as over-the-top (OTT) players such as WhatsApp and Netflix vie for consumers' monthly budgets.
- In October 2013 Telenor Norge was reportedly facing a record fine for providing different connection speeds to customers of its wholesale partners and its own subscribers. The Norwegian Post & Telecoms Authority (NPT) notified the operator of a NOK5mn (US$620,000) penalty for violating the law, which requires it to provide its wholesale customers with 2G and 3G on the same terms as its own customers.
- In October 2013 Norwegian telecoms provider Telenor outlined plans to deploy 2,000 more 3G/4G base stations as the number of customers availing the operator's LTE-based services continue to rise. The company revealed that about 400,000 users had signed up to its LTE-based service since its launch in October 2012.
Key Trends And Developments
The auction of spare spectrum in the 800MHz, 900MHz and 1800MHz bands is to begin in December 2013. Telenor, NetCom and Network Norway are all expected to bid. However, slow uptake of LTE services to date, plus consumers' preference for 3G-based voice and data plans may ensure that operators take a measured approach to bidding for spectrum. It is unlikely that a new player will enter the market as a result.