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Telenor supports Norwegian entrepreneurship and artificial intelligence research

(Oslo/Arendal, Norway, August 17, 2016) Telenor Group today announces two specific initiatives to support entrepreneurship and competence building in Norway. The ambition is to strengthen the nation`s competitiveness and to stimulate job creation by Norwegian startups.

In collaboration with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and the leading research institute SINTEF, Telenor will establish a lab focused on artificial intelligence and big data at NTNU in Trondheim, Norway. As the second initiative, Telenor will develop and launch a dedicated, next-generation Internet of Things (IoT) network in several Norwegian cities. Norwegian startups and students will get cost-free access to the IoT network in order to develop and test their products and services. The first pilot will be located in Oslo, in collaboration with StartupLab.

"We need to build critical competencies within artificial intelligence and we want to give Norwegian startups the resources they need to succeed. This is imperative for our ability to seize digital opportunities and contribute to creating new jobs. Startups play a key role in net job creation. We aim to stimulate productivity in Norway by developing new competencies and supporting the startup community," says Sigve Brekke, President and CEO, Telenor Group.

Telenor`s AI Lab at NTNU will conduct research and run innovation programs within artificial intelligence and big data. The lab will research how machines can contribute to developing new services by identifying structures and hidden knowledge in large data sets. It will rely in part on data from next generation Iota networks such as the one Telenor will pilot with StartupLab. In order to support Norwegian companies aiming at taking an international position within artificial intelligence, the lab will work closely with the industry, research institutions, academia and the startup community. The research institute SINTEF will contribute actively to projects at the lab and ensure tight integration with the Norwegian industry at large.

Comments from our partners:

Gunnar Bovim, Rector at NTNU:
"The AI Lab allows us to strengthen research and innovation within artificial intelligence and big data. More resources, equipment and research positions empower us to solve projects that provide Norwegian companies with competitive advantages on the international, digital arena. The collaboration will accelerate Norway`s journey towards a digital future and elevate our academic capabilities within areas where Norway must play in the top league internationally," says Gunnar Bovim, Rector at NTNU.

Alexandra Bech Gjørv, President of SINTEF:
"Digitalization, big data, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence are strategic focus areas where SINTEF already possess considerable capabilities. The Norwegian research community plays a central role in introducing new digital competencies that contribute to increased competitive thrust for Norwegian industry. By creating an AI Lab in collaboration with Telenor and NTNU, we provide Norway with new capacity in leveraging the value of big data," says Alexandra Bech Gjørv, President of SINTEF.

Per Einar Dybvik, Partner, StartupLab:
"Internet of Things is changing everything. With the availability of tiny, affordable sensors, we observe how today`s startups assume all products will be connected to the internet at some point. This is why providing them with cost-free access to a next-generation IoT network from Telenor is of critical importance. StartupLab hosts more than 100 startups every year and the availability of the Telenor network has been warmly received in our community," says Per Einar Dybvik, Partner, StartupLab.

Bjørn-Taale Sandberg, Head of Telenor Research:
"Over the next 20 years, artificial intelligence will be the driving force behind all processes, shape all services and become integrated in most products across industries and usage areas. With every day that passes, with every search in Google, purchase in Amazon or `Like` on Facebook, the AI of a handful of dominant players make it increasingly less interesting for consumers to test out alternatives. There is a real risk that the most fundamental technology of the 21st century will be dominated by a few large companies, unless we take the necessary steps. By launching the AI Lab at NTNU and by empowering our startups, we contribute directly to taking those steps," says Bjørn-Taale Sandberg, Head of Telenor Research.

Telenor`s agreements with NTNU, SINTEF and StartupLab have an initial horizon of five years. The total cost is estimated to NOK 50+ million over a five-year period. These initiatives are the latest addition to Telenor`s broad global approach to supporting startups, including accelerator programs across eight of its markets - with a total of 70 startups supported in 2016 alone.

Sigve Brekke, President and CEO of Telenor Group, will be launching the new initiatives during the Arendalsuka 2016. Media and others are welcome to attend his breakfast meeting about the "Digital entrepreneurial nation" on August 17 at 08:15am in Arendal. No registration required.

Press contacts:
Telenor Group: Tor Odland, tor.odland@telenor.com, mobile +47 9909 0872
NTNU: Anne Katharine Dahl, mobile +47 9189 7121
SINTEF: Morten Dalsmo, SINTEF IKT, mobile +47 952 91 417

This announcement is distributed by NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions on behalf of NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions clients.

The issuer of this announcement warrants that they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of the information contained therein.
Source: Telenor via GlobeNewswire