International Expansion


  • The first manual mobile telephone is launched in Norway.


  • The unique cooperation between the Nordic countries to create a common standard results in Nordic Mobile Telephony (NMT).


  • Partnerships set up to establish international standards for the telenetwork mobile networks.


  • Collaboration with partners to create and manage international services.
  • Satellite services are developed in close cooperation with Norwegian industry.
  • Satellite services are utilized by the offshore oil industry, the Norwegian shipping industry and in the polar region, Spitsbergen, Svalbard.


  • Development of international fixed network services begin.
  • Norwegian Telecom develops international business in accordance with customer needs.


  • Standards for interconnecting the services are developed.
  • Cooperation with international partners to create technical solutions such as satellite services, the NMT 450 (Nordic Mobile Telephone) and GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) mobile systems.


  • Norwegian Telecom declares the GSM-system officially opened.
  • Pannon GSM is established to deliver mobile telephony in Hungary.


  • Norwegian Telecom becomes a public corporation.
  • International media describe the Winter Games at Lillehammer as “The Mobile Phone Olympics” – 25,000 mobile phones are in use.


  • Norwegian Telecommunications changes its name to Telenor.
  • Northwest GSM, in which Telenor has a 13 per cent ownership share, officially opens in St.Petersburg, Russia.
  • Telenor signs a contract for the development of satellite networks in the Czech Republic.


  • Telenor invests in joint ventures in Ireland, Austria, Russia, Hungary, Lithuania, Montenegro and Bangladesh.
  • Telenor is awarded a licence to develop GSM networks in Bangladesh and in Montenegro.


  • On Bangladesh’s Independence Day, 26 March 1997, the mobile network opens in the capital, Dhaka.
  • Telenor – together with partners – is awarded licences to develop the mobile networks in both Austria and Greece.
  • Telenor enters into a consortium to build mobile networks in Ukraine and Germany.
  • Telenor opens mobile networks in Ireland.


  • Telenor and partners open mobile networks in Greece and Austria.


  • Telenor acquires part of VimpelCom in Moscow.
  • Telenor acquires a 33% holding in DiGi, Malaysia and thus expands its operations to Southeast Asia.
  • Mobile service WAP is introduced.


  • Telenor AS is partly privatised on 4 December.
  • Telenor enters into an agreement with British Telecom which results in the sale of shares in Esat Digifone. Telenor exercises this option and a gains approximately NOK 9 billion (USD 1.72 billion).
  • Telenor buys into TAC/UCOM in Thailand.


  • Ownership shares in Germany and Ireland are sold at a profit of more than NOK 21 billion (USD 4.02 billion). Telenor’s stake in North West GSM is also sold.
  • Telenor increases its share in Hungary’s Pannon to 100 per cent.
  • Telenor increases its share in Malaysia’s DiGi to 61 per cent.
  • Telenor acquires Comsat Mobile Communications and becomes the world’s largest operator of mobile satellite services.


  • Jon Fredrik Baksaas succeeds Tormod Hermansen as CEO in April.
  • The new Telenor headquarters at Fornebu, Oslo opens in September and more than 6000 employees move in.
  • The first trial UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) call takes place in Norway
  • Telenor increases its investment in VimpelCom.


  • Telenor acquires 100% of Sonofon, Denmark.
  • Telenor acquires the remaining 25% of Comincom-Combellga in Russia, which later merges with Golden Telecom, in which Telenor obtains an ownership interest of 19%.
  • Telenor disposes of half of its shares in Greek mobile operator Cosmote at a profit of NOK 2.1 billion (USD 401.74 million)
  • A new mobile alliance, Starmap, includes nine European mobile operators as members.


  • The commercial 3G UMTS service is launched in Norway and Sweden.
  • The remaining shares in Cosmote are sold at a profit of NOK 2.6 billion (USD 497.4 million).
  • Telenor enters into an agreement to roll out mobile communications infrastructure in Pakistan.


  • The Telenor owned subsidiary, Telenor Pakistan, launches its GSM mobile network on 15 March. By year-end it has 1.9 million subscriptions.
  • Telenor enhances its position in the Nordic region by acquiring the broadband suppliers Cybercity in Denmark and Bredbandsbolaget in Sweden.
  • The UMTS service is launched in Hungary.
  • Telenor increases its economic exposure in DTAC, Thailand and as a result, consolidates the company.


  • Telenor acquires Vodafone Group’s Swedish mobile operation. Vodafone is a wholly-owned subsidiary, branded Telenor, and is the third largest mobile operator in Sweden with an estimated market share of 17%.
  • Rebranding Telenor: Telenor launches the new Group logo and visual design in Telenor Norway, Sonofon, Denmark and Pannon, Hungary. The symbol is adopted by ten operations in eight different countries. This rebranding builds stronger ties across the Group.
  • Telenor wins the bid for the second largest mobile operator in Serbia. The company is rebranded as Telenor and a new, committed management is installed in new premises.
  • Telenor enters into an agreement with Apax Partners, France for the sale of Telenor Satellite Services.
  • Telenor reaches 100 million subscriptions.
  • Following the launch in Telenor Pakistan in 2006, the youth brand “Djuice” is now being marketed in Norway, Hungary, Ukraine, Bangladesh and Pakistan, reaching a total of 10 million Djuice subscriptions by mid-2008.
  • UMTS is launched in Denmark.


  • Telenor is named the top performing mobile operator on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes. The DJSI rank the 14 leading mobile communications companies worldwide, and this is the first year that Telenor has occupied the number one spot.
  • Telenor begins implementation of alternative energy to power base stations: Grameenphone in Bangladesh and Telenor Pakistan, install hybrid solar-powered base station sites. The solar-powered base station is globally quite a new concept and has been installed in only a few countries so far.
  • UMTS is launched in Montenegro and Serbia.


  • The new Telenor satellite, THOR 5, is successfully launched into orbit. The satellite is launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in February.
  • The world’s first authorised in-flight mobile phone calls on a commercial flight take place. This event follows the successful introduction of the AeroMobile system by Emirates Airline. AeroMobile is a joint venture between Telenor and ARINC, and is the result of a research and innovation project at Telenor.
  • UMTS is launched in Malaysia.
  • Telenor Sweden is awarded a licence for 2x 20 MHz, granting Telenor substantial opportunities to provide 4G services and high-quality mobile broadband.
  • Telenor enters into an agreement to take controll over a 60% stake in Unitech Wireless, India. The Indian mobile market is the world’s second largest.


  • Telenor launched mobile services in India on 3 December under the brand name Uninor.
  • Telenor and Russian telco Altimo of the Alpha Group agree to settle their legal disputes and form a new joint mobile operator targeting emerging markets.
  • Telenor builds operations in India and plans to launch services under the brand name Uninor by the end of the year.
  • The THOR 6 communications satellite is launched from Guiana Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on October 29. The geo-stationary satellite will serve more than 15 million TV households in the Nordic region and Central and Eastern Europe.
  • Inauguration of Pannon’s new headquarters in Budapest, Hungary with Norwegian Crown Prince and Princess present. The office building has energy-efficient solutions such as geothermic pumps and solar cell installations, making it the greenest office building of the Telenor Group to date.
  • Grameenphone launches Bangladesh’ largest initial public offering (IPO), allowing people to buy shares. Approximately 69.5 million shares will be issued to the public.
  • Stronger branding in the Nordic Region as Danish mobile operator Sonofon and broadband provider Cybercity change name to Telenor.
  • dtac starts building 3G networks in Thailand.