History of Telia Company

This is where we share our fascinating history. Starting in 1853 with the establishment of The Royal Electrical Telegraph Administration, it’s a journey from the telegraph to the telephone, from sms to social media. From copper to fiber and NMT to 4G (and soon 5G). It's a fantastic story and part of shaping today's society.


Building the company

When TeliaSonera was founded, it was the first time two previous incumbents in two EU countries merged. Historically however, the companies had already worked together on a number of different projects and complemented each other in various ways.

Telia Company is the fifth largest telecom operator in Europe today and continues building on its pioneering spirit and high technology expertise within both fixed and mobile communications inherited from its predecessors.

Pioneering the future

The Nordic region became the Mecca of the mobile world and had the densest mobile usage in the world. Sweden and Finland set the tone for this work with their expertise and have continued in their pioneering role. But the pioneering spirit was not restricted to mobile technology alone. Televerket was in the international front line in bringing fibre cables into commercial operation.

International carrier operations were started to support large international corporate customers, an area where Telia Company is still the leading company in Europe and one of the most prominent in the world. Stereo radio transmissions and early activities related to the development of the Internet are also on the list of accomplishments.

Entering new markets

Nordic telecom know-how was indisputable and world renowned far beyond the Nordic national borders. This meant that many countries approached the Nordic companies for assistance when they wanted to open their market to mobile telephony.

Sonera, with its eastward links, was able to create successful partnerships and stakes in mobile companies in many Eurasian countries long before the merger. In the Baltic countries, Telia and Sonera joined forces to build both fixed and mobile networks. They were on the scene even before the collapse of the former Soviet Union at the start of the 1990s. Telia also acquired experience of operating mobile companies abroad in the late 1990s, in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.

The New Generation Telco

With a new strategy, organization and operating model in place, operations acquired and divested, and with ventures into new areas, the next step is to become a new type of telecommunications company.

Telia is a focused Nordics & Baltics integrated digital operator on a mission to build a new digital society, empowering people, companies and societies to stay in touch with everything that matters to them - a New Generation Telco if you will.

Read about Telia's most recent history which includes the Eurasia exit and kickstarting the new generation telco strategy:

This is the story of Telia 2013 to 2018, an objective account of a sad chapter in Telia’s history and the journey to become a new Telia with a strong base in the Nordics and Baltics.