The history of FINN Mobile is quite interesting as well as complicated. Before the official launch of their product, IPC had announced a number of different network operators who had been invited to participate in a trial run for one week.
From the start, it was clear that Nokia had done a very impressive job in bringing the network to life. This was followed by a series of announcements from other network operators claiming they were excited about Nokia. So, it was obvious that the remaining network operators were going to be interested in having Nokia as a partner.
Nokia had an obligation under the rules and regulations of ETSI to give all the network operators’ access to the network. Unfortunately, FINN Mobile would have to re-open its network and there were also rules which allowed a ‘second tier’ operator to enter the field. As Nokia did not have a problem with re-opening the network, they would need to buy off the contract with NetMobile.
Obviously, this worked out well for Nokia and they were then offered NetMobile’s network. They were subsequently left with the task of finding a new network operator for the Nokia network.
By this time, Nokia and DTAIC were aware that both Verizon and ATT were interested in launching a mobile phone service in the UK. When they returned to Europe after their launch in the US, they had a meeting with these two networks. At this meeting, it was suggested that DTAIC and Nokia were probably going to have to give up on their ambitions of opening up their network.
To everyone’s surprise, DTAIC felt it necessary to state publicly that if Nokia wanted to get a licence to operate a mobile virtual network operator, they would have to ‘cave in’. Apparently, DTAIC felt it was in the wider interest of the national market thatATT and Verizon had a monopoly on UK network operators.
Nokia was not willing to cave in to this proposal and so started negotiations with other network operators. As part of this process, a meeting was arranged between Nokia and a German mobile network operator, which may have helped to create the level of animosity between the two operators.
Nokia presented its case at a meeting of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), which handled the licensing of mobile networks. According to the NIC, both Verizon and ATT were doing very well financially and Nokia was unlikely to do very well in their absence. As a result, the NIC recommended that DTAIC should not be granted access to the Nokia network and that it should be given access to Verizon and ATT.
At this point, it is important to state that although DTAIC was clearly keen on selling its shares in Telecoms Informatics, that it was not necessary. DTAIC was able to purchase half of Telecoms Informatics for about 3 billion Euros.
Then Nokia went back to the NIC with its argument that a company like Telecoms Informatics was still a lot stronger than DTAIC, even though DTAIC was a company with an extremely profitable business model. According to Nokia, it was simply impossible for DTAIC to develop a successful network and that it should be prohibited from operating a mobile virtual network operator in the UK.
The NIC did not appear to agree with Nokia’s argument and concluded that both DTAIC and Nokia were following the right path. Both companies should be allowed to continue operating in the UK, but DTAIC should not be allowed to provide network services on the Nokia network.
In the end, FINN Mobile made a business decision to go it alone. A few months later, FINN Mobile took control of the Nokia network and started a second life for the network operator.