Telia ‘should be broken up’

Swedish-Finnish telecom operator Telia Sonera could be forced to separate, putting its Swedish fixed-line network in a separate unit, if a new proposal is incorporated into law. The proposal was put forward in a document from regulator PTS drawn up on a commission from the government.

Under the proposal Telia Sonera would be forced to split up the production and sale of certain wholesale services from its other activities. The two parts of the company would have to be separated by ‘watertight barriers’, PTS said.

The model put forward for Telia Sonera is very similar to the British model, in which former monopoly phone provider BT has a semi-detached unit to handle wholesale activities.

Marianne Treschow, head of PTS, criticized the current system whereby Telia Sonera negotiates with other operators to give them access to the network. She said that the system had led to repeated conflict between the companies, with a long line of court cases resulting.

“And still the relationship between Telia Sonera and the other operators is not working,” she said.

“And when the buyer-seller relationship is now working, it damages Sweden as an IT nation, and leads to us falling behind our neighbours.”

The proposal will now be handed to the government, and will be put out for consultation during the summer. PTS expects the measures to be passed by January 1st 2008, but for them to take some time to be fully implemented.