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Hi3G bids for Telia's Finnish 3G license, other assets

  • 2002-08-29
STOCKHOLM

Hi3G Access, the joint third-generation mobile telephone venture of Investor AB and Hutchison Whampoa, said Aug. 26 it had bid for Telia AB's Finnish mobile operations and Finnish 3G licence.

Hi3G spokesman Niclas Lilja confirmed the company was making an offer for Telia's Finnish 3G license as well as other assets.

"Yes, we have (submitted a bid). The 3G license is one of the things we are bidding for," he said.

Telia is selling the operations and license as a result of its merger with Sonera Corp.

Press reports put the deal's value at around 800 million Swedish kronor (88 million euros).

In Hong Kong, Hutchison Whampoa confirmed it has made an offer for a Finnish 3G licence.

Hutchison is controlled by one of Asia's wealthiest tycoons, LiKa-shing.

According to the Finnish business paper Kauppalehti, other companies interested in Telia's Finnish mobile operations include Radiolinja, owned by Elisa Communications Corp, DNA, owned by Finnet Group, and Jippii Group.

But Radiolinja and DNA already have Finnish 3G licences and cannot under existing regulations bid for a second one, it said.

The Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications noted that the Telia license cannot be sold separately from the company's local operations.

"If they have made a bid for a licence, it must be (via a bid for) Telia's Finnish mobile operations, which hold the licence," said Antti Kohtala, head of the ministry's network division.