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TeliaSonera to cut 2,000 jobs

TeliaSonera plans to cut 2,000 staff

Swedish operator group TeliaSonera will slash approximately 2,000 jobs, representing seven per cent of its total workforce. The announcement was made as the firm announced its earnings from the quarter ending September 2012, in which it saw net sales decrease year-on-year by 3.2 per cent to SEK 25.8bn ($ 3.9bn).

The firm’s net income also decreased 1.2 percent to SEK4.80bn, although the number of its subscriptions grew by four million. CEO Lars Nyberg explained that the personnel reductions will be made after the firm carried out an in-depth analysis of its operations lasting several months.

“The ambition is to fundamentally change our business by simplifying our way of working. We estimate this will lead to a cost reduction of some SEK2bn net over the coming two years,” he said.

In September 2012, TeliaSonera became subject to media allegations of bribery and money laundering related to our 2007 investment in a 3G license and frequencies in Uzbekistan.

Nyberg admitted that the allegations the firm is facing are severe, but is convinced that they are unfounded.

“To clarify the factual circumstances and ascertain whether there are any grounds for the allegations, TeliaSonera has initiated an external legal review, to be presented before the end of the year,” he said. “The anticorruption unit of the Swedish Prosecuting Authorities has also initiated an investigation, which we welcome and will cooperate with.” – telecoms industry news, analysis and opinion

TeliaSonera also fingered as investigations into Uzbeki operations deepen

TeliaSonera has announced that two of its Dutch holding companies are subject to a preliminary investigation concerning bribery and money laundering

TeliaSonera has announced that two of its Dutch holding companies are subject to a preliminary investigation concerning bribery and money laundering

European operator group TeliaSonera has revealed that two of its Dutch holding companies, TeliaSonera UTA Holding and TeliaSonera Uzbek Telecom Holding, are involved in a preliminary investigation concerning bribery and money laundering regarding operations in Uzbekistan.

The revelation comes as VimpelCom, which competes with TeliaSonera in Uzbekistan, faces a similar probe. One time competitor MTS exited the country last year.

“Authorities have carried out searches at companies during course of March 11th 2013 to get access to documents,” TeliaSonera said in a statement. “TeliaSonera is cooperating fully with the authorities. At this point TeliaSonera has no further details about the investigation.”

TeliaSonera’s troubles in Uzbekistan have been well documented. In February last year, the firm called on Swedish law firm Mannheimer Swartling to issue a report on the operator’s operations in Uzbekistan after attracting criticism over allegations of corruption involving its operations. While the law firm did not establish any evidence that bribery or money laundering had occurred, there remained suspicions of criminal activity among the Swedish Prosecution Authority that were not dismissed by the investigation. CEO Lars Nyberg left the firm as a consequence. The operator’s board then appointed law firm Norton Rose Fulbright to launch a review of its transactions in Eurasia and it appointed Johan Dennelind as president and CEO as of September 1, 2013.

VimpelCom, which is now TeliaSonera’s sole competitor in Uzbekistan, announced today that it has received a letter from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stating that it is conducting an investigation into the firm’s operations.  Its group headquarters in Amsterdam were also visited by representatives of the Dutch authorities including the Dutch public prosecutor office, yesterday; the same day that authorities searched TeliaSonera’s premises.

VimpelCom told that it could not comment on the nature of the investigation but admitted that the investigations appear to be focus on its operations in Uzbekistan. Dutch authorities informed VimpelCom that it is the focus of a criminal investigation in the Netherlands.

Last year, Uzbeki authorities forced the shutdown of an unidentified mobile operator’s network in the country. MTS has since confirmed to that it is no longer operational in Uzbekistan. In June last year, MTS announced that it had become aware of an auction planned for July 1st 2013 of assets owned by its wholly owned subsidiary in Uzbekistan, Uzdunrobita.

“In the Company’s opinion, the claims of Uzbekistan authorities that resulted in the initiation of bankruptcy proceedings and the forthcoming auction sale of Uzdunrobita assets have no legal and factual basis,” the operator said at the time.

TeliaSonera acquires AinaCom’s consumer operations and fixed networks

Sonera, the Finnish arm of TeliaSonera, has signed an agreement to acquire AinaCom’s consumer operations and fixed networks. Click here for more.


TeliaSonera refreshes management team

TeliaSonera has announced a new management team to lead the firm

TeliaSonera has announced a new management team to lead the firm

European operator group TeliaSonera has announced a refreshed executive management team following the dismissal of four senior executive members earlier in December.

The operator’s board has announced 12 new positions, to be filled by a mix of external and internal candidates.  Two vacancies remain in the new management team, the operator said, while one has an interim executive in place. The operator will confirm the permanent team by April 1st, 2013.

The operator announced the executive management team as follows:

  • Sweden – Malin Frenning, EVP. currently head of Broadband Services.
  • Eurasia – Erik Hallberg, EVP. currently president of TeliaSonera International Carrier.
  • Europe – Robert Andersson, EVP. currently head of Finland.
  • Technology – Sverker Hannervall, (SVP, CTO. currently acting head of Business Area Mobility Services.
  • Technology – Åke Södermark, SVP, deputy CTO. currently head of Group IT.
  • Commercial – Vacant.
  • Strategy & Business Development – Vacant.
  • Finance – Christian Luiga, SVP, acting CFO
  • Human Resources – Karin Eliasson, SVP.
  • Legal Affairs – Jonas Bengtsson, SVP, General Counsel (starts Jan 7).
  • Communications – Peter Borsos, SVP (starts Jan 9).

The group also said that it will change its operating model to increase local accountability, also effective April 1st. The announcement follows the ongoing investigation into allegations of corruption involving operations in Uzbekistan.

“The countries will be the leading dimension in this new operating model, which is where we interact with the customers,” said Johan Dennelind, president and CEO of TeliaSonera.

“We remove the business area layer from the existing organization. Instead we strengthen the local operations and the mandate for Group functions to drive strategic questions and improve governance. We believe this model will enable us to offer our customers a better service at the same time as it clarifies accountability for our performance.”

The country structure will be grouped in three geographic areas; Europe, Eurasia and Sweden.

TeliaSonera execs leave in wake of Eurasia scandal

Four TeliaSonera execs have been shown the door by the operator group

Four TeliaSonera execs have been shown the door by the operator group

European operator group TeliaSonera has announced that four senior employees have left the firm as a consequence of some of its transactions “not being in line with sound business practices”.  CFO Per-Arne Blomquist will leave his position effective immediately as will Tero Kivisaari, the former head of the operator’s Eurasia region. The other two executives involved were not named by the firm.

Late last year, TeliaSonera attracted criticism over allegations of corruption involving its operations in Uzbekistan. Although a review by law firm Mannheimer Swartling did not find that TeliaSonera had been involved in bribery or money laundering, the law firm criticised TeliaSonera for failing to conduct a sufficiently in-depth analysis into the identity of the local partner in Uzbekistan before investing. The review led to former CEO Lars Nyberg leaving the firm.

The four latest departures follow a review by international law firm Norton Rose Fulbright which investigated the group’s transactions in Eurasia to assess the business ethics of the transactions. Although the review is still ongoing, the TeliaSonera Board has decided that the four executives “no longer have the trust of the board”, according to Marie Ehrling, chairman of the board.

“Therefore they have been notified that their employment with TeliaSonera will be terminated and they will leave their position effective immediately,” she said. “It is not the Board’s task to assess the legal aspects, but we have decided to hand over the material from the Norton Rose Fulbright review to the prosecutor’s office as part of our continuous dialogue.”

Christian Luiga, who is currently head of the CEO Office, will assume the position as acting CFO. Kivisaari, meanwhile, had been appointed head of business area mobility after his tenure as head of Eurasia, but was relieved of these duties in October this year. Sverker Hannervall was been appointed acting president of business area mobility services at TeliaSonera, while Kivisaari was to take on other duties in the Group.

“Tero Kivisaari’s role in TeliaSonera’s criticized investments in Uzbekistan, and the attention surrounding them, has made it impossible for him to act with the internal and external authority necessary for the president of the largest business area of TeliaSonera,” CEO Johan Dennelind said at the time.

In a more recent statement, Dennelind added that he and the board concluded that the way “some transactions in the past were managed does not live up to the high standards of business ethics and transparency that TeliaSonera wants to stand for”.

“Based on Norton Rose Fulbright’s findings I am taking necessary actions. It is the responsibility of all our employees, including senior management, to ensure that we maintain high standards of business ethics and to implement necessary governance and compliance to uphold them. Going forward we need strong leadership on all levels to create a sound culture.”

TeliaSonera unit buys datacentre specialist

Datacentres are high growth markets

Nordic systems integrator Cygate, owned by regional carrier TeliaSonera, this week acquired data centre specialist Information Infrastructure Management (IIM) for an undisclosed sum.

IIM is a niche system integrator company, specialising in the datacenter market. TeliaSonera and Cygate said the acquisition would strengthen the company’s offerings within this high growth area, which “is high up on the agenda for Nordic CIOs when it comes to prioritising their IT investments,” according to Bengt Lundgren, managing director at Cygate.

“We were one of the first players to bet on backup, storage and virtualization services – areas with staggering growth and are pleased with this acquisition.” – telecoms industry news, analysis and opinion

TeliaSonera boosts presence in Kazakhstan

TeliaSonera boosts its presence in Kazakhstan

International operator TeliaSonera has announced that it is to acquire Alem Communications, a WiMAX operator in Kazakhstan, for $ 170m. Stockholm-headquartered TeliaSonera, which has an extensive footprint in Eastern Europe, already holds the leading position in the Kazakh cellular market through its local subsidiary Kcell (GSM Kzakhstan).

In addition the operator has struck a deal with Visor Group that will see both companies take minority stakes in KazTransCom, which owns a nationwide fibre network in Kazakhstan. This deal will set TeliaSonera back $ 35m and Kcell has signed a five-year backbone lease agreement with KazTransCom as part of the agreement.

TeliaSonera is unlikely to be pursuing a WiMAX strategy with its acquisition. Rather, it’s interest in Alem stems from the WiMAX player’s 2.5/2.6GHz spectrum portfolio, which is technology neutral.

“I am very pleased that we have been able to reach agreement in relation to these important transactions. They will be crucial for Kcell’s continued leadership in the rapidly growing mobile data sector and reaffirm our strategic commitment to developing mobile technologies and services in Kazakhstan. The investment in, and agreement with, KazTransCom would also secure further backbone capacity for Kcell at competitive prices for the years to come, a very important factor for future competitiveness as data volumes continue to grow rapidly,” said Tero Kivisaari, President, Business Area Eurasia, TeliaSonera.

TeliaSonera has a total of 172.1 million subscribers to its operations worldwide, according to Informa’s World Cellular Investors product. – telecoms industry news, analysis and opinion

TeliaSonera offsets revenue decline with cost cutting measures

Johan Dennelind, CEO at TeliaSonera

Johan Dennelind, CEO at TeliaSonera

Swedish-Finnish operator group TeliaSonera has suffered a slight decline in revenue for 3Q13. However, this was offset by cost cutting measures which saw the firm decrease its cost base by 3.9 per cent.

As a result, although net sales fell by 1.8 per cent year on year to SEK25.4bn ($ 3.97bn), profit rose to 15.1 per cent to SEK 4.64bn, up from SEK4.03bn in 3Q12.

President and CEO Johan Dennelind explained that the firm’s revenue continued to be impacted by a difficult economic environment and lower regulated mobile termination rates in the markets where it operates.

“Demand for mobile data remains strong and our new data-centric pricing models continue to gain traction across Scandinavia,” he added.  “It is particularly encouraging to report positive billed revenue growth in all three markets where these price plans have been introduced, reinforcing our view that we are on the right track.”

Dennelind  added that the rapid development of the telecoms industry means that legacy technologies and business models are being replaced with new ones, and that the operator is expanding high speed internet via fibre and 4G services.

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“Our ambition is to offer the best customer experience through high-quality networks and it is vital for our investment decisions that we can rely upon a transparent and predictable regulatory framework,” he said.

Dennelind, who took on the role of CEO in September, replaced Lars Nyberg, who stepped down from his role in February this year amid a corruption scandal surrounding the firm’s operations in Uzbekistan.

He said his initial observation is that TeliaSonera has a “solid asset base with a diversified product portfolio, attractive footprint, strong brands and competent people”.

“The mix of mature and emerging markets give us a robust foundation. However, in recent years our position has weakened in too many of our markets and it is essential to strengthen our competitiveness going forward. In a fast changing environment we have to understand our customers’ requirements and further develop a company culture that encourages agility and innovation.”

Vice president, Mobile System Development, Nordic and Baltics, TeliaSonera: “4G roaming is a clear requirement from our customers”

Tommy Ljunggren, vice president, Mobile System Development, Nordic and Baltics, TeliaSonera

Tommy Ljunggren, vice president, Mobile System Development, Nordic and Baltics, TeliaSonera

Following the successful LTE Awards 2013, we speak to Tommy Ljunggren, vice president, Mobile System Development, Nordic and Baltics, TeliaSonera about the company’s win for its 4G roaming service in the Best LTE Roaming Product or Service category.

Tell us more about your entry for the LTE Awards 2013

TeliaSonera was first in the world to launch a commercial 4G/LTE service on 14 December 2009. Since then we have been the first operator to launch 4G/LTE in all the Nordic and Baltic countries in which we operate. For these achievements we also won an LTE Awards in 2010 and 2011.

What do you think made your entry stand out from the crowd?

Our entry this time was based on the fact that we were the first operator in Europe, and one of the first in the world, to launch commercial 4G roaming, and have real life experience from this.

How will your product evolve and improve in the future?

We will continue to launch 4G roaming between the various TeliaSonera operations this year. We actually launched the 4G roaming for our Norwegian customers during the LTE World Summit.  We will potentially even launch roaming with operators outside the TeliaSonera group this year or early next. We see that that 4G roaming is a clear requirement from our customers and they do not understand why they should not be able to use the same excellent service as “back home” when travelling.

In connection to the technical implementation we will continue our work to ensure that the business model supports our customers who wish to use the 4G service when travelling. This means that we will extend our “Surf Abroad” and “Roam Like Home” offers, which ensure that the users know what they will pay in advance and have the power to decide how much the data consumption is worth , when roaming. Hopefully they will find the service worth the price and we will increase the usage.

What trends do you see ahead for the industry for the next 12 months?

-          We will see a lot more 4G roaming contracts made between operators, based on Diameter signalling and IPX. For this to happen we will see international carriers signing peering deals to enable easy rollout of 4G and VoLTE roaming.

-          We will probably see the VoLTE launched in more countries, especially outside Europe.

-          We will see some LTE-A with carrier aggregation launched/tested in countries where the operator have limited bandwidth, i.e. have lower data speeds.

-          Almost all smartphones will have 4G capability and we will even see other devices, such as cameras, equipped with 4G

What are the biggest challenges the lie ahead for LTE?

We still need to improve the 4G coverage world-wide and in Europe. One important step for the industry, Europe in particular, is to kick start the planning for the APT700 MHz band, which seems to be the most promising common low frequency band for 4G roaming world-wide.

VoLTE is most likely not a “walk in the park” either since it requires a very tight quality control not to destroy the user experience when voice calls are handed over between VoLTE and normal CS connections (when outside LTE coverage). We need VoLTE support in large volumes of terminals and extensive 4G coverage before we see any financial benefit (compared to CS Fallback).

What impact has winning this award had for your business?

It strengthens our image as the premier 4G company, and it gives us publicity regarding the fact that we are offering 4G roaming today. It also increased the interests from other operators to set up 4G roaming with us.

TeliaSonera signs LTE roaming deal with iBasis

TeliaSonera’s International Carrier division has signed an LTE roaming peering agreement with iBasis

TeliaSonera’s International Carrier division has signed an LTE roaming peering agreement with iBasis

European operator group TeliaSonera’s International Carrier division has signed an LTE roaming peering agreement with roaming services provider iBasis. The two companies plan to interconnect their diameter signalling and data hubs to enable interoperability and a consistent user experience for TeliaSonera’s roaming LTE subscribers.


They will also migrate all legacy services to a new IPX interconnect with a view to provide quality of service, security, multilateral connectivity and cascading payments, TeliaSonera added. It said its IPX network is built upon its wholly-owned and fully redundant optical network, which was recently 100G-enabled.

iBasis’ LTE Signaling eXchange (LSX) service, part of the IPX interconnect, provides a single point of access to the international LTE diameter signalling network. The LSX ensures that TeliaSonera’s LTE customers receive connectivity worldwide and access to a global footprint of LTE operator networks.

“As soon as users experience higher quality, they demand it. There will be no going back and we see a growing user requirement to do everything on their mobile devices from anywhere they want – in short, ‘anywhereization’. ” said Erik Hallberg, president at TeliaSonera International Carrier.