OSLO Aug 18 Mobile network provider ICE, owned by Ukrainian-American billionaire Len Blavatnik, expects to announce details of its Norwegian expansion plans within the next month, the head of its operations in the Nordic country said on Monday.
ICE won a key spectrum auction late last year to build a fourth-generation mobile network alongside its existing Norwegian mobile data operation, but has declined to reveal whether or not it will offer voice services.
ICE will effectively replace Sweden's Tele2, which sold its Norwegian operations after losing the spectrum auction, leading the Norwegian Consumer Council to express fears of diminished competition in the market.
"Within a month we'll be able to tell more about which suppliers we've chosen and which services we'll deliver," the managing director of ICE Norway, Eivind Helgaker, told Reuters.
The 4G network will launch in 2015.
"There's no doubt that voice services are exciting in the Norwegian market. If you look at Norwegian telecoms revenues you'll see that a very large part is tied to voice," said Helgaker.
"But the general development in telecoms is that the only service operators actually put a price on is data. Customers buy packages where voice and text messaging are free, and with a certain quantity of data," he said. (Reporting by Joachim Dagenborg, writing by Terje Solsvik, editing by David Evans)