An old telephone

In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell invented and patented the telephone. His telephones were wired directly to each other and could only be used with connected phones. From circa 1880, telephone exchanges allowed connecting to other telephones.

Telephone technology came to Europe in 1877, when the first public demonstration of the Bell telephone took place in a limited number of countries, including Great Britain, Germany, France, Sweden and Norway. The first Norwegian telephones were sold in the capital, Christiania (Oslo), in 1878.

A large number of private telephone companies were established during the following years, and in the 1890s, Norway had one of the highest densities of telephones in relation to population.

In 1906, one of the first radio wave connections between islands was established in the Lofoten area in northern Norway. The fishermen could then connect with their sales organisations on the mainland after they sailed in to the island’s harbour, enabling the salespeople to start the sales process while the fish was en route to the mainland.

The extensive Norwegian fishing industry was a driver for the telephone companies in their rapid development of telephone coverage and services.

Telegrafverket (now: Telenor) acquired the last private telephone company in 1973, but never took the step to establish fixed line operations abroad.


End of monopoly of sale of telephone sets in Norway


The last manual telephone exchange is shut down in Balsfjord, Norway


Takes over the last private telephone company in Norway

Andebu Telephone Association is taken over by Norwegian Telecom (Televerket)


First manual mobile telephone is launched in Norway


Satellite telephone connection between Norway and USA opens


“Miss Clock” introduced in Norway

The ‘speaking’ clock, known to all as “Miss Clock”, is introduced as a new and popular telephone service


First red telephone booths appear in Norway


Telephone connection opens between Norway and USA


Opens the first automatic telephone exchange in Northern Europe

The Norwegian city of Skien opens an automatic telephone exchange


Norwegian state obtains exclusive rights to run telephone services

The Telegraph Act is passed, giving the Norwegian state exclusive rights to run telephone services in Norway


First international telephone line introduced

The first international Norwegian telephone line connects Christiania (Oslo), Norway with Stockholm, Sweden


Norway’s first official telephone exchange opens


First telephone cables between Norwegian cities

The Norwegian cities of Arendal and Tvedestrand are connected via telephone cables


First public demonstration of the Bell telephone in Norway

One year after Bell introduced the phone for the first time