TeliaSonera's Finnish arm Sonera has established a network-sharing joint venture with local rival DNA in order to lower the cost of rolling out mobile coverage in remote areas.
The new company, called 'Suomen Yhteisverkko' – which roughly translated means 'Finland Joint Network' – will build and operate a common radio access network for the operators' 2G, 3G and 4G services in Northern and Eastern Finland, an area constituting 50% of the country's landmass but just 15% of the population.
Under the terms of its 4G licence, TeliaSonera is obliged to cover 99% of the population by the end of 2018. The Sweden-based telco said its agreement with DNA will help it reach this target more efficiently.
"Thanks to the cooperation with DNA we can deliver on our promise to have the best network in Finland faster. We can accelerate the rollout of super-fast mobile Internet across all of Finland," said Robert Andersson, head of Europe at TeliaSonera, in a statement.
Suomen Yhteisverkko will own the radio network equipment but will rent masts and base station facilities from either the operators or third parties.
Furthermore, Sonera and DNA have also agreed to combine their 800-MHz LTE frequencies to offer faster connections in the areas covered by the shared network. The operators each acquired 2x10 MHz of 800-MHz spectrum in an auction that took place in October 2013.
Sonera will own 51% of the joint venture, while DNA will own the other 49%. Antti Jokinen, head of networks at DNA, will become CEO of the new company, which is expected to begin operating in early 2015.