Norwegian mobile operator ice.net has bought 40,000 retail customers from a rival as it looks to increase the return on its network investments.

ice.net will pay approximately NOK75 million (around €7.9 million) to buy the subscribers from an undisclosed operator, with an additional bonus payment that is dependent on the number of customers successfully migrated to its network.

A NOK200 million equity injection in June by AINMT into its Scandinavia arm, which also operates as Net1 in Sweden and Denmark, will finance the acquisition.

Johan Michelsen, Deputy CEO of parent company AINMT, told European Communications that the operator was looking to increase economies of scale related to network investments it has made in Norway.

These include purchasing 70MHz of spectrum in 2013 to use exclusively for 20 years, as well as a deal with Tele2 to buy a large number of 4G sites which was concluded in 2015.

The migration of customers to ice.net’s network will take place between August and October 2017 and take its subscriber base to over 240,000.

ice.net is the third largest provider of mobile services in Norway, behind Telenor and Telia.

It added around 150,000 customers year-on-year between 2015 and 2016.

JD Fouchard, CEO of AINMT, said: “Ice.net is the fastest growing mobile network operator in Scandinavia.

“The acquisition of this customer base will be a valuable addition to an already rapidly growing customer footprint in Norway.”

Mobile revenues in Norway are growing, although players are experiencing mixed fortunes.

Total mobile telephony and mobile broadband revenue was NOK9.14 billion in the first half of 2016, up three percent compared to the same period of 2015, according to the most recent figures from the Norwegian Communications Authority.

In the first quarter of 2017, Telenor saw mobile revenue decline six percent to NOK3 million, while Telia saw revenues rise 13 percent to SEK1.9 million.

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