France Telecom Group, Sonofon, Tele Danmark AS and Telia AG were awarded licenses to operate nationwide Digital Cellular System 1800 networks in Denmark.
Denmark’s National Telecom Agency reported it expects the personal communications network licensees to offer services “at prices which have never here been lower.”
The new networks not only further open Denmark’s telecom market, but provide relief to congestion on 900 MHz cellular networks.
Growth has been explosive in Denmark.
Between cellular operators Tele Danmark Mobil and Sonofon-formally Dansk Mobile Telephone-there are 1.4 million subscribers, stated the Strategis Group in its March report, “World Cellular and PCS Markets: 1997.” This figure represents about 27 percent penetration.
“The appointment of new operators in the mobile telephone sector should be seen as a move toward the political goal of ensuring real and free competition in the telecom industry so that consumers get wider choice and better and cheaper service,” stated the NTA.
Both Sonofon and Tele Danmark Mobil announced plans to integrate their 1800 MHz systems with current Global System for Mobile communications 900 MHz networks.
The companies’ customers will be offered dual-mode handsets for trade-off between 900 MHz and 1800 MHz networks.
Tele Danmark Mobil said its DCS 1800 network is expected to reach 50 percent geographical coverage and 66 percent population coverage by 2000. The company will invest an initial $94 million.
Sonofon said it already serves more than 500,000 cellular customers and covers about 99 percent of the Danish population.
Telia said it plans to invest an initial $156.3 million in its DCS 1800 network to include between 700 and 800 sites.
France Telecom said it plans to spend about $173 million during ten years. The operator’s Danish subsidiary, Mobilix, plans “to increase the number of subscribers to at least 55 percent (total penetration) over a 10-year period by introducing new telephony services and a price policy that is simple and clear,” reported NTA.
Tele Danmark, is owned 51 percent by government and the remaining shares are held privately and traded in Denmark, the United States and Great Britain. The company is the principal provider of wireline and long-distance telephone services.
Sonofon is owned in part by BellSouth Corp., Great Northern Telephone Co. and others.