Finland cancels Tele2 3G licence

The Finnish government on Wednesday cancelled a third-generation (3G) mobile phone licence awarded to operator Suomen 3G, a subsidiary of Sweden's Tele2, because it did not build a network in time, officials said.

“We cancelled Suomen 3G’s licence because we found out that they don’t have network and according to the licence terms they should have (had one). At the end of last year we… gave them a last chance but they did not do it,” a legal advisor at the Finnish Transport and Communications Ministry, Riku Ahola, told AFP.

The frequencies freed up will either be kept as “reserves”, attributed to the three other operators who received licences (Elisa and Finnet of Finland and Swedish-Finnish TeliaSonera) or awarded to another operator, Ahola said.

Suomen 3G’s management was not available for comment on Wednesday but, according to the ministry, the operator judged that the market was not ready for the commercial launch of 3G.

Finland awarded its four 3G mobile phone licences in 1999 in a so-called “beauty contest” where applications were submitted, rather than the auction system used in Germany, among others, which left operators heavily indebted.