Scandinavian telecommunications giant TeliaSonera has announced plans to build Finland’s largest shared data center.

The facility in Helsinki will generate 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources and recycle all of its waste heat. It is expected to cost between €130 and €150 million.

The data center will begin offering cloud, colocation and “Internet of Things (IoT) aware capabilities” to businesses in Finland at the end of 2017.

“By combining the extensive experience we together with our subsidiary Cygate have in information security, cyber competence and our own and our customers’ data center operations, we can meet our customer’s present and future needs and provide an entity that no other data center provider can offer,” said Petri Niittymäki, head of Sonera’s enterprise business.


TeliaSonera data center in Helsinki (3D model)
TeliaSonera’s data center in Helsinki (3D model) – TeliaSonera

The history of TeliaSonera stretches back more than 150 years. Its components - Sweden’s Telia and Finland’s Sonera - were early pioneers of mobile communications and led the development of the GSM standard.

Today, TeliaSonera is the largest Nordic and Baltic fixed-voice, broadband, and mobile operator by revenue and customer base. The company is strong in wholesale networking, but less capable in terms of IT infrastructure.

The new facility is intended to satisfy growing demand for cloud services and colocation around the Finnish capital, where electricity is cheap and the winters are cold.

According to the Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat, the data center will offer initial capacity of 30 MW, which can be increased to 100MW in the future.

In terms of size, TeliaSonera Finland CEO Valdur Laid compared it to Google’s data center in nearby Hamina, famed for using seawater for cooling. However, he refused to reveal the exact location for the upcoming server farm.

“From the point of view of Finland’s economy, this is a very important project. Digitalization plays a key role when we want to improve profitability and data centers form the foundation for the global digital infrastructure. It is important that this infrastructure is located within Finland’s boundaries and that the welfare it generates stays in Finland,” said Laid.

Climate conditions often play an important part in choosing the location for a data center. But Finland also prides itself on political stability, respect for privacy, good fiber links to the rest of Europe and very serious attitudes towards cyber security.

Finland’s former minister of economic affairs Jan Vapaavuori said in April he hoped the country would attract more similar projects in the future, competing with data center hubs in Western Europe.