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TeliaSonera Names Nokia’s Andersson to Run Finnish Unit

TeliaSonera AB, the Nordic region’s second-largest phone company, named Nokia Oyj Senior Vice President Robert Andersson to run operations in Finland, its No. 2 country by revenue.

Andersson, 51, will start May 14 and will report to Lars Nyberg, chief executive officer of Stockholm-based TeliaSonera, which operates in Central Asia as well as the Nordic and Baltic countries, the company said today in a statement. Andersson will oversee Finnish mobile, broadband and business-services units that previously reported to other group executives, Tatu Tuominen, a spokesman, said today by phone.

TeliaSonera cut international roaming prices last year to retain wireless customers in its home region as earnings have fallen in Finland, where Elisa Oyj is now the largest mobile carrier. Wireless operators in Finland are expected to bid by the end of 2013 on new spectrum for so-called fourth-generation services. The sale is being conducted by auction, in a break with the earlier practice of awarding frequencies through a so-called “beauty contest.”

“It’s clear they have been seeing quite tough competition, especially from Elisa,” said Lars Soederfjell, a Stockholm-based analyst at Bank of Aaland with a “buy” recommendation on TeliaSonera stock. “It’s about doing the same type of job they’ve done in Sweden to strengthen their position.”

TeliaSonera fell as much as 0.9 percent to 45.73 kronor and was trading down 0.7 percent at 1:34 p.m. in Stockholm.

Adding BlackBerry

The company said separately that it will start selling Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry handsets and services in Finland.

Andersson ran finances at Nokia’s handset-making unit and served on the Espoo, Finland-based manufacturer’s executive board before becoming head of strategic alliances in 2009. He helped set up Nokia’s deals to work with Microsoft Corp. on handset software, as well as partnerships with Pearson Plc and Intuit Inc.

TeliaSonera’s previous head of Finnish operations, Juha-Pekka Weckstroem, moved to running business development for the Eurasia division at the end of last year.

The Finnish government said March 29 that it plans to raise 100 million euros ($133 million) from the auction of six paired blocks of spectrum in the 800 MHz band.

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