Norwegian Satcom

Telenor's teleport in Nittedal communicates with radio, TV, telephony and computer satellites. It is the biggest earth station in the Nordic region and has over 50 antennae. Credit: Telenor Satellite Broadcasting.

The Norwegian company Telenor is one of the world's biggest providers of satellite broadcasting services.

In 2011 it sold satellite services for more than NOK 1 billion and was responsible for the transmission of almost 700 TV channels from '1 Degree West', as the satellite position in geostationary orbit is called.

Telenor Satellite Services, Telenor's satellite communications division, also developed other communications services in addition to broadcasting. It became the world's largest supplier of global mobile communications services via the Inmarsat satellite system. But then, in 2007, Telenor Satellite Services was acquired by a French company and re-named Vizada. It is now owned by the aerospace company EADS Astrium.

Another Norwegian company, Ship Equip in Ålesund, grew large by offering satellite communications for ships. It was taken over by Inmarsat, but still operates in Ålesund, as well as Singapore and Houston. Norwegian companies have also developed top-level expertise at an international level in equipment for ground stations and other technology for communications satellites.

NERA Satcom began making antennas and terminals for satellite communications. It was among the front runners in its field and at its peak the company had offices in 26 countries. The firm was bought by foreigners and the Norwegian activity was closed down, but the knowledge and experience built up in Norway provided the seed corn for many smaller businesses. For example, the whole research and development department of the international group STM is located in Lysaker, just outside Oslo.

STM Norway was established on the basis of NERA Satcom's development of terminals for satellite communication. Each year, STM supplies between 12,000 and 15,000 of these terminals. The expertise in NERA Satcom has also been passed on to other companies such as Jotron Satcom, which makes directional antennas for maritime satellite communications (now a part of Jotron) and Kongsberg Defence Communications.

The Norwegian firm Kongsberg Norspace has been developing technology for research satellites for a long time. After supplying technology for many years, the firm succeeded in breaking into the conservative market for technology for commercial satellites. Kongsberg Norspace has now delivered components for more than 150 satellites built all over the world. The firm has also won a contract to deliver technology worth more than NOK 170 million for the satellites in Europe's new navigation system, Galileo.