An anonymous advisor suggested that Paavo Lipponen believes "investment in UMTS was a mistake, and that the Government can be accused of failing to monitor Sonera". Mr Lipponen has categorically rejected any direct responsibility in the specific case of Sonera's failure in third-generation mobile telephony in Europe, and in particular Germany, according to his advisor. Finance Minister Sauli Niinistoe was the first to concede that the Government had by default endorsed these investments.

--Sonera has incurred a charge of more than Euro 4 billion from the depreciation of its aborted investments in Germany. Sonera acquired a UMMTS licence in the country in 2000 in partnership with the Spanish operator Telefonica Moviles. However, even before launching into UMTS, the joint company Quam (Group 3G) created with Telefonica - in which Sonera held 42.8% of shares - had decided to freeze its commercial activities after seven months as a GSM/GPRS (2 and 2.5 generation) service operator. Sonera also obtained UMTS licences in Finland, Italy, Norway and Spain at a total estimated cost of Euro 8 billion. It is due shortly to merge with the erstwhile Swedish monopoly Telia. This deal has been delayed for several weeks and the exchange offer will now be opened in September and not August as originally planned.--

Sonera Board denies negligence.

The Sonera Board of Directors has denied any negligence in the decision to acquire third-generation mobile telephony licences in Europe, according to the conclusions of an internal enquiry published on August 22. The company opened the enquiry following the anonymous publication in June on the Internet of a...

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