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1986: Mobile telephony with a Norwegian twist

When you speak into a GSM mobile telephone, your call is transmitted via a radio system that SINTEF helped to develop.

These SINTEF colleagues formed the research department of a short-lived Norwegian mobile telephone consortium. In 1988, EB Telecom, Simonsen Elektro and SINTEF started to collaborate on the development and manufacture of base stations and mobile phones in Norway. But the three-way partnership was broken up when EB Telecom was bought up by Ericsson, whose own GSM efforts were already under way. Photo: SINTEF/Jens Søraa

The pan-European standard  that was chosen for the GSM radiosystem was largely based on technology developed by SINTEF and Norway’s Televerket (now Telenor).

The Norwegian contribution consisted of a system that was more reliable than other systems in areas with a high level of reflected signals from mountains and buildings, etc.

High-prestige tug-of-war

The radio system was the most prestigious and research-intensive area of effort in the tug-of-war over the standards that had to be established for the joint European mobile phone system.

“European championship” was decisive

After tests of the system had been performed in Paris, Europe decided to go ahead with the system from SINTEF/Televerket, at the expense of proposals drawn up by the giants of the international telecommunications industry.