Monthly Archives: November 2002

Interneto rinkoje kitą met laukiama skandalų ir naujų žaidėjų

Šiuo metu AB “Lietuvos telekomas” (LT) turi daugiausiai interneto vartotojų Lietuvoje. Antrąjį metų ketvirtį prisijungusiųjų “dial-up” būdu buvo 44 tūkst., ADSL linijomis naudojosi 6129 vartotojai. LT Paslaugų plėtros departamento direktorius Harri Suokko tikina, kad jokio monopolio interneto rinkoje nėra. Jam prieštarauja kiti interneto paslaugų teikėjai, tačiau abejotina, ar situacija po rinkos demonopolizavimo pasikeis.

H.Suokko iš dalies teisus. Konkurencinė kova vyksta, tik nelygiomis jėgomis. LT, būdama didžiausia Lietuvos telekomunikacijų bendrovė, turi beveik visą gyvenamąją šalies teritoriją apimantį kabelių tinklą, kuriuo gali teikti interneto ir fiksuotosios telefonijos paslaugas. Kiti tokio tinklo neturi ir negali turėti, nes labai daug kainuotų. Kabelinės televizijos tiesia savo kabelius negalėdamos išsinuomoti tų, kuriuos turi LT, nes tai labai brangu. Interneto paslaugas teikiančios kabelinės televizijos (KTV) “Vilsat” IT vadovas Algimantas Oškinis NK sakė, kad LT už duomenų srauto nuomą prašo keliasdešimt tūkstančių litų per mėnesį. Galima nuomoti ir optinę skaidulą. “Štai šita skaidula, – rodydamas vieną iš optinį kabelį sudarančių nė milimetro storio nesiekiančių vielyčių pasakoja A.Oški nis, – kainuoja apie du šimtus litų per mėnesį už vieną jos kilometrą”.

Dėl didelių tinklo nuomos kainų LT negali turėti lygiaverčio konkurento – nebent pastarasis nutiestų savo tinklus, o tai jau būtų nesąmonė. Labai daug kainuoja ir LT vamzdynų, kuriuose galima būtų tiesti savo kabelius, nuoma – kalbama apie daugiau nei šimtą litų už kilometrą per mėnesį (jei juo eina apie 2 cm skersmens kabelis). Todėl kai kurie interneto paslaugų teikėjai net labiau linkę tiesti kabelius savo vamzdžiuose, nes tai gali labiau apsimokėti.

“Palyginti su kainomis Europos Sąjungoje, LT linijų nuomos kaina vidurkį viršija apie du kartus”, – NK sakį “Omnitel” Strateginio planavimo skyriaus vadovas Zenonas Bedalis. Tokioje rinkoje, pasak jo, niekas negali dalyvauti normaliomis sąlygomis.

Apsimokėtų neturėti pavienių vartotojų

Apie LT, kaip konkurencijos interneto srityje stabdį, kalbėta daug. Kaip visada, yra ir antra medalio pusė. “Įsivaizduokite, kad turite namą. Kiti neturi namo, bet ateina pas jus ir sako – mes norime gyventi jūsų name,” – situaciją su kitais interneto paslaugų teikėjais apibūdina H.Suokko. LT, kurį valdo konsorciumas “Amber teleholding A/S”, o dalį akcijų turi Lietuvos valstybė ir kiti akcininkai, priklauso visas kabelių tinklas, kurio tiesimas, plėtra, skaitmeninimas ir kita reikalauja daugybės investicijų – ir reikia, kad jos atsipirktų.

Vartotojui iš to, žinoma, jokios naudos. Kalbant apie kainą tarpusavyje labiausiai konkuruoja kabelinės televizijos ir kiti interneto paslaugų teikėjai, bet jie neapima visos Lietuvos. LT giriasi, kad jo interneto įkainiai – ne didesni nei Vakarų Europoje. “Mačiau kainų lentelę, kurioje lyginamos interneto kainos Europoje, – NK sakė asociacijos “Infobalt” prezidentas Vytautas Vitkauskas. – “Lietuvos telekomo” kainos – kažkur per vidurį”. Taigi kainas turime vidutines, o gyvenimo lygis, t. y. BVP vienam gyventojui, aštuonis kartus mažesnis už Vakarų Europos gyventojų.

Nors LT atstovai teigia interneto srityje veikiantys konkurencijos sąlygomis, lygiaverčio konkurento jie neturi. “Mums konkurentai yra visi”, – sakė H.Suokko. Vieni interneto paslaugų teikėjai, pasak jo, orientuojasi į verslo klientus, kiti – į smulkesnius ir vidutinius, dar kiti – vien į namų vartotojus. “O mes siekiame patenkinti visų poreikius, nors kartais tai nelabai apsimoka”, – altruistiškai sakė H.Suokko.

Pasak V.Vitkausko, visose Europos šalyse, kuriose veikia buvę monopolininkai, sprendžiama rinkos liberalizavimo problema, tačiau sprendimo visur dar ieškoma. “Siūlomi variantai, pavyzdžiui, palikti senuosius telekomus interneto srities didmenininkais, o privačių vartotojų rinką tegu dalinasi kiti paslaugų teikėjai”, – svarstė V.Vitkauskas. Tačiau LT į tokią mintį reaguoja gana skeptiškai. “Mūsų strategija – tarnauti visiems, – sakė H.Suokko. – Negauname didelių pajamų iš namų rinkos, bet laikomės savo nuostatos ir interneto paslaugas jiems vis tiek teiksime, nors finansiškai gal net labiau apsimokėtų tokių vartotojų neturėti”.

Privers įstatymas?

Svarbiausias veiksnys reguliuojant telekomunikacijų, o kartu ir interneto rinką po demonopolizavimo yra įstatymai. Tiksliau, poįstatyminiai aktai, kuriuos rengia Ryšių reguliavimo tarnyba (RRT). Jų turi būti 54, o parengti reikia iki Naujųjų metų. RRT atstovų teigimu, šiuo metu juodraštiniame variante jie visi parengti, bet atsakymo į klausimą, kiek yra visiškai baigtų, negavau. Tiesa, keli aktai prieš parodą “InfoBalt” pasirodys RRT tinklapyje “visuomenės įvertinimui”. Lietuvos laisvosios rinkos instituto (LLRI) viceprezidentė Guoda Steponavičienė teigė, kad šiuose aktuose turi būti numatytos priemonės, kuriomis galima būtų priversti Lt nuomoti savo linijas už kitiems teikėjams prieinamą kainą. “Lietuvos telekomo” kaina turės būti pagrįsta realiomis tokių linijų ir jų naudojimo išlaidomis. Bus numatytos teisinės priemonės ir vienoje, ir kitoje pusėje – t. y. kaip bendrovė turėtų atsakyti už savo kainų nustatymą, o pati, ko gero, galės apskųsti RRT sprendimus. Bent jau taip dažnai būna kitose Europos šalyse.

Kiti interneto paslaugų teikėjai ženklių pokyčių nesitiki. UAB “Omnitel” viceprezidentas komercijai Šarūnas Kliokys NK sakė, kad tikisi pagerėjusių linijų nuomos sąlygų, nes “Omnitel” ir dabar nuomoja “Lietuvos telekomo” laidus. Kitos bendrovės, pavyzdžiui, kabelinės televizijos, ko gero, savo veikloje beveik nieko nepakeis, t. y. nepradės naudotis LT linijomis. UAB “Vilsat” teigė planuojanti tiesti savo optinius kabelius, bet kai kur nuomosis ir LT optines skaidulas. Kai kurios kitos KTV taip pat plečia savo tinklus ir tikisi turėti daugiau abonentų. Nuomotis LT linijas ir su juo konkuruoti, ko gero, galėtų nebent užsienio kapitalo bendrovė, galinti skirti daug lėšų investicijoms. Galime tikėtis, kad tokį žingsnį žengs UAB “Tele2”, neseniai paskelbusi konkuruosianti su LT, jei tik tam bus sudarytos tinkamos teisinės sąlygos.

UAB “Bitė GSM” teisinio reguliavimo direktorius Mindaugas Jablonskis prognozuoja, kad po demonopolizavimo rinkoje padaugės vietinių interneto ryšio teikėjų. Jis užsiminė ir apie kabelinių televizijų jungimosi planus. Vis dėlto, pasak A. Oškinio, abejotina, ar šie planai bus realiai įgyvendinti. Kabelinės televizijos daugeliu atvejų tarpusavyje yra konkurentės, todėl būtų labiau tikėtina, kad turtingesnės jų įsigytų kitas, mažesnes KTV, arba kad bendradarbiautų skirtinguose miestuose dirbančios KTV.

Vis dėlto ateinantys metai – dar labai miglotas laikotarpis. H.Suokko ilgalaikėje prognozėje minėjo, kad interneto kainos mažės – jos mažėja nuolat, ir tai pajus vartotojai. Valstybės mastu į rinką žvelgia V.Vitkauskas, kuris sakė esąs įsitikinęs, kad 2003-ieji telekomunikacijų sektoriuje bus skandalų metai. Pasak jo, sunkiai tikėtina, kad rinka jau bus sureguliuota ir liberalizuota. RRT dabar skundžiasi turinti labai mažai laiko poįstatyminiams aktams rengti, tačiau kur jie buvo anksčiau? 2004-aisiais tikimės įstoti į Europos Sąjungą, tačiau atvykus ES tikrintojams kažin ar parodysime telekomunikacijų sektoriuje tikrą konkurenciją ir lygias sąlygas. “Todėl ir sakau, kad kitąmet galime sulaukti skandalų ir triukšmingų batalijų tarp fiksuotojo ir mobiliojo ryšio operatorių”, – tikina V.Vitkauskas.

Anastasija Zemdliauskaitė
NKM, 2002-11-28

Police arrest former Sonera CEO Kaj-Erik Relander

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) began to question former Sonera President and CEO Kaj-Erik Relander on Tuesday evening.

    Relander’s suspected crime is the same as with all the other arrested Sonera employees, or gross violation of privacy in communications. Relander was arrested on Tuesday afternoon, and police began to question him immediately.
    NBI Deputy Chief Jari Liukku commented that there is “probable cause” to suspect Relander’s guilt in the case. Liukku did not provide an estimate of how long the questioning will take.
    The police must ask a court to remand Relander in custody by Friday if it is deemed necessary. At the moment, three Sonera employees are already in police custody, and two were released yesterday.
    The three detained employees are former corporate security head Juha E. Miettinen , Executive Vice President Jari Jaakkola, and Vice President Henri Harmia.

On Monday, the NBI began court proceedings for an arrest warrant for Relander, but later withdrew the request after Relander evidently informed the police he would arrive in Finland voluntarily for questioning.
    The former Sonera head currently works and resides in London. His most important position in Finland is membership on the Board of Directors of information security company F-Secure.
    F-Secure President and CEO Risto Siilasmaa stated on Tuesday that Relander continues to hold a seat on the Board. Siilasmaa declined to comment on Relander’s future on the Board.
    Minister of Justice Johannes Koskinen criticised the Sonera Board of Directors on Wednesday morning. According to Koskinen, the Board should have initiated an investigation as soon as it was informed of the alleged violations.

Minister of Transport and Communications Kimmo Sasi reiterated in Beijing on Tuesday that the merger process between Sonera and Telia will not be affected by the arrests.
    The Minister did admit that it is embarrassing that such skeletons have been found in Sonera’s closet, and he called for a swift and thorough investigation. Sasi also denied knowing anything about Relander’s involvement in the suspected illegal use of telephone records.
    “I have no information, and if I did, I would tell it immediately. I will be amazed if the company’s top executives are guilty of a criminal offence”, the minister said.
    The police investigations began when Helsingin Sanomat reported in October that Sonera had analysed the full telephone records of dozens of people in autumn 2000 and spring 2001 in order to determine who had leaked internal information to reporters.
Helsingin Sanomat

State´s ownership policy calls for activity and know-how

The Ministry of Trade and Industry organised today, at the House of the Estates, a discussion forum on the State´s ownership policy to the trade union movement and representatives of the personnel groups of state-owned companies.

In the discussions, Minister Sinikka Mönkäre stated that the State´s ownership policy has been very active this year. “The State has, for example, sold some of Fortums´ shares and twice shares in Stora Enso without, however, causing any change in the State´s relative ownership position in these companies. The State sold Partek to Kone, when a new major company engaged in the engineering industry was established. The arrangements implemented this year have brought the State revenue of over ¬ 1.4 billion”.

The State´s ownership policy is not only about selling company assets, underlined Minister Mönkäre. “The State is also ready to invest resources in ownership arrangements that further consolidate state-owned companies and that are expected to yield good profits. One of such projects is concerned with Outokumpu´s acquiring, partly funded by the State, the entire share capital of AvestaPolarit in view of becoming its owner. The project fortifies Outokumpu´s business structure and creates employment in various parts of the country, especially in the Kemi-Tornio region”.

During the past few months, the continuity of work has given rise to concern in different parts of Finland. The firms that waited for the revival of growth have now come to a situation where reducing labour is more and more often their means of surviving. For instance, Rautaruukki has planned to give notice to hundreds of its employees. According to Minister Mönkäre, the State will, however, actively look into all possibilities of minimising the unemployment impacts arising from Rautaruukki´s arrangements.

The State´s ownership policy has been widely dealt with in public, above all because of Sonera. “It must not be concluded from the Sonera case that the State could not be an owner in a listed company. It is true that it requires know-how and active follow-up of the state of the company. As a general rule, the State has, however, proved to be a skilled owner of listed companies as well”.

A consensus has matured within the Government to concentrate the responsibility for the ownership policy in one place, which is also the view that Parliament recently approved. “The proposed basis for the State´s ownership policy, which involved division of companies into those that tend to special functions and into those that operate on market terms is appropriate. It is justified to concentrate the administration of all companies that operate depending on the market conditions in one place, which, in the name of reason, is the Ministry of Trade and Industry”, said Minister Mönkäre.

“Concentrating the ownership policy seems to be connected with even surprisingly great passions, although the contents of the ownership policy implemented is certainly more important. However, it is essential that the current practice will be changed and that the State´s ownership policy can be carried out in a coordinated manner for the benefit of society and all companies in which the State has holdings”, stressed Minister Mönkäre.

www.valtioneuvosto.fi

Former Sonera CEO Relander now added to list of suspects in privacy violation case

Arrest warrant cancelled after Relander agrees to fly in for questioning

The name of former Sonera President and CEO Kaj-Erik Relander has been added to the growing list of suspects of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which is looking into allegations of violation of privacy in communications at Sonera.

    Deputy Chief Jari Liukku from the NBI confirmed on Monday that Relander is also under suspicion of aggravated violation of privacy in communications. The NBI already began court proceedings for an arrest warrant on Monday, but the process was cancelled a few hours later.

    The evening news of the Finnish Broadcasting Company reported that the reason for withdrawing the arrest warrant was that Relander had announced he would voluntarily fly in from London for questioning. The arrest warrant was evidently requested so that the Finnish authorities could have asked their British colleagues to arrest Relander in the UK and hand him over to the Finnish police.

The Helsinki District court remanded two more Sonera employees, former head of corporate communications Jari Jaakkola and vice president Henri Harmia, in custody today. Both men worked closely with Relander during the time of the alleged wrongdoing, or autumn 2000 and spring 2001.

    The police suspect that Sonera illegally obtained and analysed the telephone records of dozens of individuals during that time in order to determine who had spoken to reporters about internal company matters.

    However, one of the arrested Sonera employees, the unnamed man who was in charge of corporate security in mobile communications, was released from custody today. After these rulings, four Sonera employees remain in police custody, as it has been feared they might tamper with evidence if released.

Relander was unavailable for comment at his home or office on Monday in London. His assistant declined to state whether he was already on his way to Finland, or still in the UK. Relander still answered e-mail messages sent by Finnish reporters over the weekend.

    The CEO of Sonera’s merger partner Telia, Anders Igel, commented on Monday that the arrests are unfortunate, assuring at the same time that the incident would not hinder the merger between the two mobile operators.

    Igel emphasised that the events under investigation took place long before the first plans for the merger were drafted. Igel also commented that he fully trusts current Sonera President and CEO Harri Koponen, who joined the company after the alleged illegal surveillance occurred.

Helsingin Sanomat

Two Sonera Executives in Pre-Trial Detention

The District Court of Helsinki has today authorized the pre-trial detention of Jari Jaakkola, Executive Vice President and member of Sonera’s Executive Management Team, who has been responsible for Corporate Communications and IR, and who was arrested on Friday, November 22, 2002. The Court also authorized the pre-trial detention of Henri Harmia, Vice President and head of the Integration Office, who was arrested on Friday. The reason for the pre-trial detention is that they are suspected on reasonable grounds for gross violation of secrecy of communications. Both of them have been relieved of their duties for the time being.

At present, four Sonera employees are kept in pre-trial detention, as they are suspected on reasonable grounds for gross violation of secrecy of communications. The District Court of Helsinki released today one Sonera employee who had been arrested earlier this month.

    For more information at Sonera, contact:

Harri Koponen
President and CEO
Tel: +358 2040 541 10
e-mail:  harri.koponen@sonera.com

In the United States:
Mr. Steve Fleischer,
Vice President, Investor Relations,
Tel: +973-448-4616
e-mail: steve.fleischer@sonera.com

Sonera Corporation (HEX: SRA, NASDAQ: SNRA) is a leading provider of mobile and advanced telecommunications services. Sonera is growing as an operator, as well as a provider of transaction and content services in Finland and in selected international markets. The company also offers advanced data solutions to businesses, and fixed network voice services in Finland and neighbouring markets. In 2001, Sonera’s revenues totaled EUR 2.2 billion, and profit before extraordinary items and taxes was EUR 0.45 billion. Sonera employs about 7,400 people. www.sonera.com

Business Wire

Prezidentūroje diskutuota apie naujojo Telekomunikacijų įstatymo įsigaliojimo pasekmes

Prezidentūroje pirmadienį posėdžiavusi Žinių visuomenės taryba diskutavo apie Lietuvos telekomunikacijų rinkos liberalizavimą įsigaliojus naujai Telekomunikacijų įstatymo redakcijai. Naujasis Telekomunikacijų įstatymas įsigalios nuo kitų metų sausio 1 dienos.

Prezidento Valdo Adamkaus sudarytos tarybos nariai aptarė, kaip mokyklos aprūpinamos internetu, kaip sekasi įgyvendinti projektą “e-Valdžia”.

Tarybos pirmininko Andriaus Kubiliaus teigimu, svarbu, kad įgyvendinus koncepciją “e-Valdžia”, vartotojas, turėdamas mobilųjį telefoną ar interneto ryšį namuose, gautų kuo daugiau pačių įvairiausių paslaugų.

Pasak A.Kubiliaus, privatus verslas savo strategijas turi, todėl daugiau dėmesio reikėtų skirti valdžios veiksmų strategijai šioje srityje.

Kaip BNS sakė mobiliojo ryšio bendrovės “Bitė GSM” direktorius Darius Masionis, dabar svarbiausia demonopolizuoti telekomunikacijų rinką ir skatinti konkurenciją.

D.Masionio teigimu, ypatingą dėmesį reikia skirti viešųjų fiksuoto telefono ryšio paslaugų ir tinklų rinkai, skirtųjų linijų paslaugų rinkai ir nacionalinei tinklų sujungimo rinkai, kur veikia skirtingi operatoriai.

Ryšių reguliavimo tarnybos direktorius Tomas Barakauskas sakė, kad pagrindinė rinka yra tinklų sujungimo rinka, kurioje dalyvauja ne tik dabartinis monopolininkas “Lietuvos telekomas”, bet ir mobilieji operatoriai.

Šiuo metu atliekamas telekomunikacijų rinkos tyrimas, kurio pabaigoje, T.Barakausko teigimu, bus nustatyti didelę rinkos galią turintys operatoriai, kurie turės laikytis pakankamai aiškių nediskriminacinių reikalavimų kitų subjektų atžvilgiu, įskaitant technologinius, finansinius susitarimus.

Rinkoje iš esmės neabejojama, jog didelę rinkos galią turinčiais operatoriais bus pripažinta didžiausia šalies telekomunikacijų bendrovė “Lietuvos telekomas” ir didžiausia mobiliojo ryšio bendrovė “Omnitel”.

Išskirtinę teisę teikti fiksuoto telefono ryšio paslaugas “Lietuvos telekomas” turi iki 2003 metų pradžios.

Pasak prezidento spaudos tarnybos, pagrindinis darbas 2003 metais bus suderinti teisinį telekomunikacijų rinkos reguliavimą su nauju Europos Sąjungos telekomunikacijų direktyvų paketu.

T.Barakauskas anksčiau yra sakęs, kad įsigaliojus naujajam Telekomunikacijų įstatymui rinkos dalyviams nebereikės išankstinio valdžios leidimo užsiimti šia veikla, jie turės atitikti įstatymų reikalavimus, laikytis bendrųjų teisės normų, registruotis Ryšių reguliavimo tarnyboje ir vykdyti veiklą.

BNS
2002 lapkričio mėn. 26 d.

Ex-Sonera CEO arrested in snooping investigation

The former chief executive of Sonera Kaj-Erik Relander was arrested Tuesday amid a widening police probe into claims the telecommunications company illegally monitored the phone calls of its workers and some news reporters.

Relander worked for Sonera since 1994 and as a CEO from the beginning of 2001 and who left Sonera at the end July 2001 under mounting pressure while the company’s financial fortunes plummeted.

Relander was arrested on suspicion of breaking the communications privacy laws.

It marked the sixth arrest in the widening probe, which was spurred after the country’s leading daily Helsingin Sanomat reported that Sonera traced its employees’ phone calls in an attempt to find out who leaked information to the media about internal company disputes.

Sonera quarters in police prison

Earlier Tuesday, a Helsinki court Tuesday approved the continued detention of a pair of Sonera executives and the head of company internal security.

The four Sonera employees are being held amid suspicion they violated Finland’s data-security laws.

Two employees held by police ware released Tuesday by the Helsinki District Court.

The arrests began when the head of corporate security at Sonera, Juha E. Miettinen, and two of his co-workers were detained. Executive vice president Jari Jaakkola and vice president Henri Harmia were arrested Friday. All four were suspended from their jobs at Sonera.

At the time of the alleged monitoring, Jaakkola was head of corporate communications. Harmia has been the coordinator of Sonera’s USD 6.2 billion merger with Sweden’s Telia. Both companies have said the investigation will not affect the merger.

In Finland, only the police – with a court order – can have access to information about dialed and received calls. The communications authorities said Sonera’s position, as the country’s biggest phone operator would make any monitoring a particularly serious offense.

Sonera has been the subject of several recent investigations, related mainly to its losses from investments in third-generation cell phone licenses.

Not surprised any more

Formerly called Telecom Finland, Sonera has 2.4 million wireless subscribers and operates more than 770,000 phone regular landlines in Finland. It employs 8,200 people.

Last week, Sonera shareholders gave final approval for the merger with Telia. The new TeliaSonera, which will be the largest phone company in the Nordic and Baltic regions, will be 64 percent owned by the Swedish and Finnish governments.

Telia’s CEO Anders Igel is playing down the ongoing investigation saying it concerns events under the old leadership.

The minister of communications Kimmo Sasi issued, on a visit in China with president Tarja Halonen Nokia CEO Jorma Ollila, issued a statement saying that he was not – after all that had been going on – surprised by the arrest of the ex-CEO.

mobilecommerce.net

Head of Sonera corporate communications arrested

Police suspect widespread wrongdoing within telecoms company

Link to a larger image

The police investigations into suspected illegal surveillance of telephone records at Sonera have now led to the telecommunications company’s executive management team.

    On Friday, the National Bureau of Investigation arrested Jari Jaakkola , the executive vice president in charge of corporate communications, and vice president Henri Harmia, who has had a central role in preparing the merger of Sonera and Telia.

    Similar to the previous three arrests, the two men are suspected of aggravated violation of privacy in communications during an internal Sonera investigation that took place in autumn 2000 and spring 2001. Both Jaakkola, 41, and Harmia, 39, have been relieved of their duties for the time being.

Helsingin Sanomat reported in October that Sonera has analysed telephone records in order to determine who leaked information to reporters. However, the National Bureau of Investigation now suspects even more widespread wrongdoing may have taken place.

    The police aim to uncover who issued the order to analyse telephone records. Jaakkola held his current position already in autumn 2000, and Harmia was a confidant of former Sonera President and CEO Kaj-Erik Relander. Relander has so far declined to comment on the investigations.

    During the course of the past weeks, Jaakkola has repeatedly denied in public that Sonera had any knowledge of the offences reported by HS.

Current Sonera President and CEO Harri Koponen was downcast at the company’s press conference on Friday. He issued an assurance that the company will not cover up for anyone, but will assist the police in unearthing the truth.

    Koponen did not work for Sonera at the time of the alleged wrongdoing. Sonera Chairman Tapio Hintikka observed that the newest turns in the investigation have no effect on Koponen’s position at the company. According to Hintikka, Koponen retains his full confidence. Also, Hintikka emphasised that the merger process with Telia will proceed as planned despite the incident.

    Minister of Transport and Communications Kimmo Sasi, who was surprised by the arrests of the Sonera executives, commented on Friday that the state has advised Sonera management to be as open as possible and to find out the truth as soon as possible.

    Jaakkola’s counterpart at Telia, Michael Kongstad, noted on Friday that the arrests are unfortunate, but that they will not delay the telecoms merger.

Helsingin Sanomat

Sonera snooping scandal reaches executive level

On Friday the Finnish criminal police arrested on Friday two more Sonera employees in the continuing investigation into allegations that Sonera broke the telecom message secrecy act in pursuing its internal investigation into information leaks to Helsingin Sanomat, the largest Finnish daily.

This time the arrests reached to the top of the corporation. Police arrested vice-president Jari Jaakkola, Sonera’s chief of public relations and a member of the executive management team, and Henri Harmia who heads Sonera’s integration team in the Telia merger.

The three people arrested earlier have not been released on the grounds that they might destroy evidence. All three worked for Sonera’s corporate security unit. Two of the people being held under arrest have held fairly dominant positions in government security planning committees.

All those arrested have been relieved of their duties at Sonera.

Relander’s cabinet

The investigation is targeted on activities in 2000 and 2001 when Sonera was going through a leadership change under the new CEO Kaj-Erik Relander. Helsingin Sanomat reported that in Sonera there was an atmosphere of chaos, distrust and fear under Relander who had his own favorites. The arrested Harmia was known to be one of Relander’s favorites. At that time several people who had been instrumental in building Sonera into a successful and technically advanced national mobile operator left the company.

The Helsingin Sanomat report mentioned no names as information sources. Later on the paper reported on receiving phone calls from Sonera insiders asking that reporters not call them since the company was investigating callings logs in order to discover who was leaking information.

Private investigation

After the Helsingin Sanomat articles Sonera had an independent investigator to look into the case and even asked police to investigate the allegations with an implied threat of suing the paper for false allegations. The results of the independent investigation led to legal advice for the new CEO Harri Koponen not to take action. Koponen followed the advice.

However, the police investigation, once started, kept going on and shows no sign of letting off.

Meanwhile, the Finnish telecom regulator conducted its own investigation with the results that Sonera does not have sufficient internal guidelines and regulations to protect caller information and to manage the access to that information.

The arrests are an embarrassment for Sonera at a time when it is finalizing a merger with Telia of Sweden, the first cross-border merger between European telecom incumbents. Telia leadership meanwhile says that the approval of the needed 90 percent of shareholders has been attained and the merger will go through.

Sonera share price has not suffered from investigation, presumably because it is already coupled with Telia’s stock.

Mobile Commerce Net

Sonera executives face data-security charges

Two top executives at Sonera Corp., Finland’s main telecommunications company, were arrested yesterday and charged with violating the country’s data-security laws. Jari Jaakkola, an executive vice-president, and Henri Harmia, who was in charge of co-ordinating Sonera’s $6.2-billion (U.S.) merger with the Swedish company Telia, were also suspended from the company. Police are investigating whether Sonera monitored the call records of its own employees in 2000 and 2001.

The Globe and Mail