Prime Minister Viktor Orbán signed a strategic partnership agreement with Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor’s Executive Vice President Kjell-Morten Johnsen on Tuesday. The ceremony was also attended by Norwegian Ambassador to Hungary Tove Skarstein.
Telenor’s presence in Hungary is recognition of the country’s efforts to build an economy which can be globally competitive and a “worthy partner for such a successful and internationally acknowledged company as Telenor”, the Prime Minister said at the signing ceremony. This agreement is a sign that Hungary is regaining its earlier positions and that “one can do good business with the Hungarians,” he added.
Hungary’s special tax on the telecommunications sector has been discussed with Telenor management, and the Prime Minister has suggested that surtaxes could be reduced in line with Hungary’s economic growth.
He referred to the European Commission’s latest forecast of continuous growth within the Hungarian economy in the next few years, and invited “creative” proposals from Telenor’s management concerning investment projects targeting further improvement of the economy and facilitating lower taxes.
The Prime Minister said he believed Telenor would remain a key player in Hungary’s economy, and noted that the company had 3.2 million subscribers in the country. “That many people cannot be wrong,” he said. Prime Minister Orbán also voiced his conviction that the partnership would further improve Norway’s positive image in Hungary.
Telenor Hungary’s CEO Christopher Laska called the agreement an important milestone, which would support Telenor’s overall objectives and the company’s Hungary strategy. Telenor supports dialogue, mutual trust and predictability, further development of the telecommunications network and digital literacy, as well as strengthening the competitiveness of Hungarian businesses, Mr Laska said. He also announced Telenor’s commitment to invest a further 10 billion forints in hypernet 4G internet services in Hungary. This investment, he said, is aimed at ensuring access to broadband internet throughout the country, and reducing differences between its regions. Everyone should have access to the internet, which introduces new opportunities and helps people become more successful, he said. Mr Johnsen stated that Telenor also seeks to ensure internet access for small and medium-sized enterprises, and help them towards better business opportunities. He noted that Telenor had also established a regional service centre in Hungary.
Telenor has been present in Hungary since 1994 and has invested 436 billion forints in network development, and mobile and data services. Telenor Hungary has over 1,200 employees and around 500 Hungarian suppliers. The company holds 31.41% of the Hungarian market based on the number of active SIM cards in September 2013.
Prime Minister’s Office