New cable TV option for the Greater Helsinki Area

Sonera opens competition in the cable TV market of the Greater Helsinki Area by offering real property customers a new alternative for acquiring cable TV services. As Sonera’s Cable TV is based on the company’s own fibre optic network, its cable TV services will be immediately available to thousands of new consumers. The total Sonera Cable TV offering comprises about 120 TV channels, 13 of which are high-definition (HD) channels. Sonera’s aim is to gain a 10% market share of the Greater Helsinki Area’s cable TV market at a quick pace. Sonera’s first major customer in the Greater Helsinki Area is the Foundation for Student Housing in the Helsinki Region (Hoas), whose 16,000 residents become Sonera Cable TV customers at latest by the end of February 2010.

Sonera is now the leading provider of high-speed broadband access in Finland and, based on the number of subscribers, the number four cable TV operator in Finland. At present, Sonera offers cable TV services in about 70 towns and localities in Finland.

Sonera and Hoas have agreed that from December onwards Sonera will also provide Hoas with television services. The agreement covers nearly all the about 100 Hoas real property units. The Hoas agreement raises the number of Sonera’s television customers to about 190,000 households. Sonera has already been providing Hoas properties with broadband over fiber, and basic-speed broadband access is included in the housing service Hoas provides to its residents.

According to Heikki Valkjärvi, managing director of Hoas, the company’s decision to change cable TV operators was supported by three factors: positive user experiences from Sonera’s broadband over fibre, attractive offering at a highly competitive price and supplementary services enabled by the fibre optic network.

Aiming at a 10% market share

According to Juha-Pekka Weckström, country manager of TeliaSonera Finland and head of Broadband Services Findland, Sonera’s fibre optic network is now available to nearly 200,000 households in the Greater Helsinki Area. Weckström says Sonera’s strenghts include its high-quality offering and attractive pricing. “We believe we can offer services to housing companies at prices that are up to 50% lower than at present. For the housing companies this is a big asset.”

When a housing company chooses Sonera’s cable TV, the residents receive 18 channels free of charge. One of these is an HD channel. The residents can select additional channels from diverse channel packages or, if they so want, even one channel at a time. The monthly charge for the largest package of 48 channels, for example, is €24.90. All in all, the customers have an extensive selection of 120 TV channels to choose from. The residents can also subscribe to individual, premium-rate TV channels. Further, they need not buy new digital set-top boxes – their current devices will also continue to work in the future.

The cable TV service based on the fibre optic network is tomorrow’s alternative: in addition to traditional TV services, it also enables the provision of future TV services without any capacity worries. After the Greater Helsinki Area, Sonera may also expand the cable TV service to other towns and localities where Sonera’s fibre optic network is available. The service can be expanded according to demand for example to Tampere, Jyväskylä and Oulu.

Sonera has invested hundreds of millions of euros in fibre optic connections over the past few years. Today, Sonera’s 100 Mbps fixed broadband is available to 430,000 households in Finland. The company’s strategy is to continue to invest in fibre to reinforce its market leadership in high-speed broadband and become the national market leader in non-antenna TV business.

For further information journalists can contact:

Jussi Salminen, TeliaSonera Finland, Vice President of Home Services, tel. + 358 40 834 5818
Esko Korkalo, TeliaSonera Finland, Sales Manager for Cable TV Services, tel. + 358 400 404 087.