Billionaire Thor Bjorgolfsson plans new 3G telco in Iceland Skip to content

Billionaire Thor Bjorgolfsson plans new 3G telco in Iceland

According to the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, RÚV, the investment company Novator has been issued a license by the Icelandic Post and Telecommunications Authority for trial operations of a 3G mobile telecommunications company commencing this fall.

Novator is controlled by Björgólfur “Thor” Björgólfsson, Iceland’s first dollar billionaire. According to the British newspaper Guardian, Thor made his money in the mafia-infested brewing business in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 2002, Thor and his two partners, his father Björgólfur Gudmundsson and Magnús Thorsteinsson, acquired a controlling stake in the former state-owned bank Landsbanki in a controversial privatization. According to RÚV, Novator is a controlling investor in telecommunications companies in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Poland that are currently deploying 3G networks.

Landsbanki is the second largest shareholder of Dagsbrún (ICEX: DB) which owns Og Vodafone, Iceland’s second largest telco with approximately a third of the market by revenue. Og Vodafone’s main competitor is the former state-owned incumbent, Síminn, also privatized in controversial cricumstances in 2005. Thor Björgólfsson participated in a consortium of bidders for Síminn, but was not successful.

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