NMT-450 was opened on 10 November 1981, and the network revolutionised telephony in Norway. For the first time, users were able to place calls from their holiday homes, from their cars or from boats out at sea.
"In the early stages the network provided added safety for a number of occupational groups, and it did take a while before most people started to carry mobile phones around with them. We have now reached the end of the road for NMT-450, the network is technologically and operationally worn-out, and Telenor's license for operation of NMT (Nordic Mobile Telephony) expired at the end of 2004," says Director of Coverage Bjørn Amundsen of Telenor Mobil.
The use and extent of the NMT network was far greater than originally expected during the planning and rollout stages. Already back in 1984, the NMT-450 was overtaxed in the Oslo-area. 35 per cent of the total traffic volumes originated within a 25-kilometre radius of the centre of Oslo. During a short period, Telenor (then called Norwegian Telecom) was forced to temporarily stop the uptake of new subscribers in the Oslo-area. In the period from 1986 to 2001, NMT-450 was supplemented by the NMT-900 system, before the digital GSM-network was introduced in 1993. In December 2004, Telenor also launched the third generation of mobile telephony, the so-called UMTS network.
As late as 1995, NMT-450 reported a record high figure of 489,000 subscribers. Now that the network is closing down, only 24,000 subscribers remain on the NMT-450 platform. These subscribers have received due warnings of the closedown.
To compensate for the closedown of NMT-450, the GSM network has been greatly enhanced during 2004. The coverage at sea has been extended through the use of more powerful transmitters. On average, the GSM network now provides coverage up to 50-60 kilometres off the shoreline, and in some places as far as 120 kilometres out to sea. Due to the curving of the Earth, vessels travelling this far out will have to fix their antennas as high as possible to be able to receive the signals.
Telenor also continues its GSM-rollout in sparsely populated areas, in areas with numerous holiday homes, and in popular excursion areas. Telenor currently has mobile coverage in 99.4 per cent of the populated areas in Norway, and in 80 per cent of the country in total. Satellite phones will be a good alternative to mobile coverage in areas that are difficult to access. These are now becoming less expensive.
"It is important to underscore that although we are now significantly extending the GSM coverage along the coastline, the mobile phone should not be seen as an emergency channel. The VHF Maritime Radio will still be the girder of emergency communications at sea, both for leisure boats and commercial vessels," ends Director of Coverage Bjørn Amundsen of Telenor Mobil.
For more information, please contact:
Director of Coverage Bjørn Amundsen
Telenor Mobil, Tel. +47 900 21 000