Business and industry in Norway - 4) Information and communication

Number of employees78 635
Number of companies9 112
TurnoverNOK 182,1 billion

Information and communication technology (ICT) is a large and rapidly growing industry that is becoming increasingly important to Norwegian commerce. The ICT business covers everything from labour-intensive firms that emphasise products they have developed themselves, to the sale of consultancy services. This sector is expected to play a greater role in economic growth in the years ahead, as the field expands and new sectors and segments of society begin to use ICT products.

  • Data operations/IT services
  • Consultancy services
  • Software producers
  • Producers/suppliers of data, radio and television equipment
  • Telecommunications, multimedia and the Internet
  • System integrators

Information and communication technology is a driving force behind product development and innovation in many fields. The digital revolution has made possible a fusion of telecommunications, broadcasting and data/electronics, which were once distinct forms of communication. This has given rise to an arrayof new products and services, and to the proliferation of what is known as the “expanded” ICT industry.

The ICT industry is geographically widespread, and Norway boasts a number of well-established ICT environments. As a rule, ICT companies are knowledge-intensive, and most of them are small or medium-sized. But there is also a number of major players in the telecommunications and satellite communications sectors. Beyond the relatively limited selection of ICT companies presented here, there are a number of firms which, though they make use of information and communication technology, are usually regarded as belonging to some other category. According to tentative figures from Statistics Norway, the ICT industry as a whole had a collective turnover of BNOK 159 in 1998.

The telecommunications industry represents the bulk of the Norwegian ICT industry. The Norwegian professional telecommunications community maintains the highest international standards. Telenor, by far and away the country’s largest ICT company, is the predominant telecommunications operator, with an 80% market share in traditional telephony (in terms of number of traffic minutes). In addition to Telenor, there are a number of specialised telecommunications companies, such as Kongsberg Ericsson and Nera. Nera specialises in the development and sale of telecommunications equipment and systems, and is a world market leader within its own niches. Nera has been actively involved in the development of maritime telecommunications since the early 1970s, and since that time has been at the forefront of satellite communications.

Maritime ICT is related to suppliers of shipping equipment, shipyards and other aspects of maritime, technology-based businesses. In several instances, companies have created business opportunities by making an initial commitment to the maritime sector, and then branching out. Significant technological applications in Norwegian firms include methods and systems for vessel control, navigation, mapping, surveillance and security systems.

Media companies are currently undergoing dramatic technological changes. This affects the media in general, and broadcasting in particular. The digitalisation of TV and radio broadcasts will blur the boundaries between telephony, IT and broadcasting. Digitalisation means that different distribution networks, in principle, can be used for broadcasting purposes, which will dramatically increase the number of stations and channels. Furthermore, the current trend will alter the financial rules of the game for media companies, as well as promote competition. In addition to digitalisation, there have been two other trends of note: internationalisation and commercialisation.

Norkring is Norway’s largest distribution company of radio and television signals. It owns transmitters used by NRK, TV2, P4 and most of Norway’s local broadcasters. Norkring is wholly owned by Telenor AS under the business area of Telenor Bredtbåndtjenester Broadband Services AS.

ICT industry and skills environment in Norway
ICT skills environments in Norway have primarily sprung from the university, college and research communities in Trondheim, Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Østfold and Kjeller, as well as at a number of individual companies and local communities.

Ericsson Telecommunications
IBM Hardware/consulting/software
The Kongsberg Group Forsvarsstystemer, navigasjon, skipskontroll, kartlegging, prosessautomatisering og satelittovervåking
MerkantildataConsultant and integration services
Nera Telecommunications, satellite communication
Netcom Telecommunications
Q-freeElectronic toll collection systems.
Tandberg DataInformation storage products
Telenor Telecommunications
Visma Programvare.

Number of mobile phone subscribers per 100 residents (1999)

In Norway, approximately two of three residents own a mobile phone. There are more mobile phones per capita in the Scandinavian countries than, for example, in Japan, the US and the OECD average. Source: OECD Communication Outlook 2001.

Internet use per resident (2001)

Norway is among the world leaders, just behind Sweden, in Internet use per resident. Source: Eurobarometer februar 2001.

Number of employees: Figures 1999 from Statistics Norway, and include ICT manufacturing (10 602), ICT commodity trade (24 380), telecommunication (12 457) and data processing (31 196). Back >
Number of companies: Preliminary figures 1998 from Statistics Norway. Figures for telecommunication refer to enterprises, not establishments. Back >
Turnover: Figures 1999 by Statistics Norway. Figures are exclusive VAT, and include ICT manufacturing (18 411), ICT commodity trade (72 534), telecommunication (55 707) and data processing (35 438). Back >

4) Information and communication

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