Sweden is one the most advanced markets in terms of IT use and is a forerunner in terms or early adoption of new technologies. With a liberal telecommunications legislation, easy entry to the market, IT savvy enterprises and consumers coupled with a strong domestic telecommunications industry, Sweden is among the most developed communications markets with a high penetration of mobile telephony users.
Total revenues of the Swedish telecommunications sector decreased by 1 percent in 2008 to reach SEK 49.5 billion*. Revenues for mobile call and data services increased by 4 percent and was worth SEK 20.5 billion while Internet services increased by 3 percent to SEK 8.6 billion. Data communications services decreased by 1 percent to SEK 4.0 billion and fixed call services decreased by 9 percent to SEK 16.4 billion. Decrease in revenues from calls to fixed networks is the largest, followed by calls to mobile networks.
On 31 December 2008 there were 5.3 million fixed telephone subscriptions in Sweden, which can be compared to 5.5 million one year earlier. The number of PSTN and ISDN subscriptions are decreasing at the same time as the number of subscriptions for IP-based telephony are increasing. Between the end of 2007 and the end of 2008, the number of IP-based subscriptions increased by around 18 per cent, from 603 000 to 735 000. During the same period, the number of PSTN-based subscriptions decreased by about 6 percent, from 4.7 million to 4.5 million.
During 2008, the number of post and prepaid subscriptions for mobile calls and data services increased by 9 percent. The number of mobile broadband subscriptions increased by 133 percent compared to the previous year. The proportion of the Swedish population with a mobile broadband subscription increased from 2 to 6 percent compared to 2007.
The most popular phones in Sweden are SonyEricsson, Nokia and Samsung. During the first quarter 2009, sales of smartphones increased by 19 percent while the total market decreased by 2 percent. In the smartphone segment, Apple’s Iphone is the dominant player followed by Nokia. It is forecast that the total market will show continued downturn during the rest of 2009.
Swedes were early adopters of wireless communications thanks to the early introduction of the analog NMT mobile telephony system. They look for the latest in technology. Voice still accounts for the major part of revenues, but other functions are increasing every year. Practically everyone uses the mobile phone to send text messages (SMS). Use of other services is increasing as they are being rolled out on the market. More than half of Swedes (61 per cent) who use mobile telephones for private purposes and who had travelled abroad in 2008 stated that they used the mobile telephone to make and receive calls, and to an even greater extent to send text messages, SMS, (80 per cent). Every fourth Swede who travelled to a country within the EU used Multimedia Messaging Services, MMS. Swedes use mobile telephones significantly more when they travel within the EU than outside due to price considerations.
Swedish buyers tend to buy mobile phones in packaged solutions offered by the various operators with a focus on content and price. Corporate users look for the latest technology, ease of use, reliability and price. The public sector, which represents around 30% of Sweden’s IT market, operates under the Public Procurement Law and tenders are published in the EU Official Journal.
Swedish customers will continue to look for new high performance models, music and camera phones as well as touch screen models. Customers will also be looking for phones equipped with GPS and access to Facebook. More than two thirds of phones sold on the Swedish market are 3G and more than 40 percent of all new phones support mobile broadband.
Successful U.S. exporters that have entered the Swedish marekt have typically appointed a Swedish distributor, a value-added reseller or established their own subsidiaries in the county. There are around 1,000 U.S. companies/affiliates with operations in Sweden. Mobile communications products are most often sold through retail chains .
Online sales are also very common. Although Swedish is the national language, around 90% of the population speaks English. Sweden has the highest rate of multinational companies per capita in the world. The corporate language of the companies is English and Swedes, therefore, are very comfortable using English when conducting business.
*SEK 1.00 equals USD 7.86 (average rate through September 2009)
The Swedish ICT market was estimated at around USD 14 billion in 2002 and is
forecast to grow by ca. 4% in 2003. As much as 9.3% of GDP is
invested in IT. Telecom services captured the lion's share of the
ICT market (41%) in 2002, followed by IT services (21%), hardware (14%),
software (11%), infrastructure (7%), terminals (4%), and office equipment (2%).
There were around 37,500 companies in the sector in 2002 with around 230,000
employees. The majority of the companies were in the software services and
supply sector. Key specialties in the sector include development of wireless
communications and technology, telematics, mobile applications and industrial
IT. The drivers behind the growth in the application software segment include
Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Supply Chain Management (SCM),
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), security, continued globalization of
business and e-business.
Around 75% of all enterprises with more than 10 employees have their own web
pages and around 45% of all enterprises with more than 10 employees have access
to the Internet via high-speed connection. Swedish companies have used
e-commerce for many years, especially B2B between large companies via electronic
data interchange (EDI). Around 60% of Swedish companies with more than 200
employees make electronic purchases and around 42% of Swedish companies with
more than 200 employees sell electronically.
Penetration of computers and telephones is very high in Sweden and in the age
group 18-65, around 70% have access to a computer at home, and 90% in this group
have access to the Internet. Internet penetration in al homes is around 60% and
penetration of mobile phones is 89%. Expansion of broadband is fairly rapid,
and 35% of Internet customers currently have high-speed access. By the end of
2003 and beginning of 2004 it is forecast that broadband connections will
outnumber dial-up access, which will mean that more than 30% of Sweden's
households will be online all the time.
WiFi equipment sales increased by 120% in 2002 and will continue to expand
with falling prices. E-commerce will continue to grow. In 2002, Swedes shopped
online for around USD 1 billion, an increase of 50% compared to 2001. B2B
commerce is expected to double in 2004 according to the Swedish business weekly
Affarsvarlden. Swedes will continue to buy new computers that can download
music, films, etc. New products will be launched on the market; tablet PCs, MP3
players, etc, etc. 3G will be introduced on a broader scale and there will be
higher demand for new mobile phones that can take advantage of the new
technology. In the software segment, security solutions will
continue to be in demand, as will software for customer relationship management,
supply chain management, analytics as well as mobile applications.
A number of foreign companies have established research
and development centers in Sweden particularly in the wireless sector, among
them are Motorola, Intel, IBM, Microsoft,
and Sun Microsystems.
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July 2003 est.
The Stockholm School of Business...where I did a lot of research