Seven bidding groups met Monday's afternoon
deadline to apply for four licenses to launch the next generation
of wireless phone technology in Norway, according to the Ministry
Norwegians are among the world's biggest mobile phone users --
some 60 percent of the 4.5 million population use them -- but the
government opted against the bidding wars that resulted in billions
of dollars for Britain, Germany and the Netherlands.
Instead, it set a price of 100 million kroner ($11.18 million)
plus 20 million kroner per year ($2.25 million) a year per license.
The government will award licenses to the concerns with the best
The government was pleased with the number of applicants and
said it would make a decision later this year.
"Such competition will help ensure an effective use of
resources,'' Minister of Transport and Communications Terje Moe
Gustavsen in a news release.
The new cellular phone standard has a transmission speed nearly
40 times than the existing standard, allowing mobile-phones be used
more like computers with the capacity to access the Internet and
even display videos.
The applicants in Norway were: Broadband Mobile ASA, a joint
venture between Norway's Enitel ASA and the international Sonora
Corp.; Norway's state phone Telenor ASA; Tele2 Norge AS and Netcom
Also bidding were Orange Norway AS, an eight company consortium
led by Britain's Orange and Bredband Mobil AB; BusinessNet AS, a
joint venture between Tele 1 Europe AS, Western Wireless
International and Rix Telecom; and a Norwegian consortium of Orkla
ASA, the Dagbladet newspaper, Hafslund ASA, Hakon Gruppen ASA,
NorgesGruppen ASA, the housing cooperative OBOS/NBBL and the
Norwegian postal service Posten Norge AB.