European Commission approves TeliaSonera divestments

The European Commission has approved Nordic telecommunications group TeliaSonera's proposal to sell its Swedish cable TV business...

The European Commission has approved Nordic telecommunications group TeliaSonera's proposal to sell its Swedish cable TV business ComHem to EQT Partners, and its mobile communications unit Telia Mobile Finland to Suomen 2G/DNA.

The divestments, which were necessary for Telia and Sonera to merge, "will ensure that consumers in Finland will continue to enjoy the benefits of competition in the market for third-generation mobile services", according to the commission.

Swedish consumers will benefit from increased competition in the market for fixed line telephony and internet services, as a result of the sale of Telia’s cable TV business to ComHem.

Last July the commission approved the merger between Telia and Sonera, subject to a package of commitments that included the divestiture of Telia's Finnish mobile telephony business Telia Mobile Finland (TMF), including the its 3G licence, and of its Swedish cable TV business Com hem.

TeliaSonera's proposal to sell TMF to Suomen 2G/DNA "will preserve competition in the Finnish market for mobile telephony services; in particular consumers will benefit from the same number of 3G network operators", the commission said.

The merger had brought two of the four licences for the new generation of mobile phones under the same roof.

Suomen 2G/DNA is owned by the Finnet Group which, with Swedish telecom company Tele2, also holds a 3G licence. However, in order for Suomen 2G/DNA to be an acceptable buyer, Finnet decided to sell its stake in the 3G venture to Tele2, thereby maintaining four independent networks in Finland.

The divestiture of Swedish cable operator ComHem to Swedish investment company EQT Partners AB (EQT) will create the conditions for increased competition in the markets for fixed telephony and Internet access, the commission said, adding that it believed EQT possessed the incentives and ability to develop ComHem as an alternative platform for such services, thereby providing Swedish consumers with an alternative to TeliaSonera's fixed network.

ComHem, Sweden's largest cable TV operator, provides analogue and digital television services, internet access services and content provision to its subscribers in Sweden.

Read more on Voice networking and VoIP