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Sonera Says Rural Customers Save Money by Ditching Landlines

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Phone users in rural Finland have been encouraged by Sonera to ditch their landline in favour of mobile phones and the telecoms operator says that this is also leading to lower monthly bills for its customers.

The monthly charge for Sonera's fixed-line subscription is Euro 25.90 in sparsely populated areas, whereas a mobile subscription costs Euro 1.99. In rural areas, the average monthly telephone bill including call costs has dropped from about Euro 30 to about Euro 10 as a result of the technology change.

"Our concerns include security issues, network coverage and call costs in Finland. Smaller telephone bills have been welcomed by our customers," says Juha-Pekka Weckström, head of TeliaSonera Broadband Services Finland.

In February 2008, Sonera had 53,000 fixed-network customers in sparsely populated areas. Now their number has dropped to 22,500. The company has started to decommission its landline network in affected areas.

"The majority of the customers have switched over to the wireless alternative on their own initiative: the number of customers affected by the technology change along the pole lines dismantled this year is only 3,500".

The technology change has affected fixed-line telephone customers in particular. Sonera has wanted to allow more time for looking into different alternatives to replace fixed-line broadband access. The adoption of GSM phones has run smoothly. Customer service advisers have checked the telephone services and any special services that the customers have used. For customers with an emergency phone, Sonera has installed an auxiliary antenna at its own expense and checked the operation of the service on site together with the provider of the emergency phone service.

At present, 124 of the 3,500 customers referred to above still have a fixed-line connection. Sonera has delayed or cancelled the dismantling of the fixed network in these cases for very different individual reasons. Some of the customers, for example, don't have electricity or they use special services, such as alarm devices for a dairy farm. "In these cases, we will take time and care to find the best substitute solutions," says Weckström.

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Tags: sonera  broadband  security  antenna  coverage  emergency  Finland