Swedish telecommunications providers Telia AB and Tele2 AB have signed an agreement to create a joint UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) network company. The deal finalizes plans announced in January.

The new enterprise, a 50-50 joint venture, will be called Svenska UMTS-nat AB, Telia and Tele2 said in a statement Thursday. Its sole purpose will be to build a UMTS network with full coverage of Sweden. The two owners will continue to compete on the service side, they said.

Telia, the former Swedish state telecommunications monopoly, faced a major blow when the Swedish regulator, the National Post and Telecommunications Agency (Post & Telestyrelsen, or PTS), refused to award it a UMTS license in its home market. The company is appealing the decision in court.

Plans for the new joint venture will go forward regardless of whether Telia succeeds in its legal action, Telia and Tele2 said.

Telia, in Stockholm, can be reached at http://www.telia.se/. Tele2, in Kista, Sweden, is at http://www.tele2.se/.

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