Tele2 Group CEO Kjell Johnsen outlined the company’s focus on building Sweden’s best 5G network in 2023, while highlighting measures taken in the first quarter to address inflationary pressures which it hopes will fuel revenue going forward.

In a Q1 earnings announcement, Johnsen explained the industry in general was back to a more predictable situation in terms of supply chain risks and handset financing, therefore Tele2 is forging ahead with its 5G build from inventories as of February.

To that end, he said Tele2 is progressing well with 5G rollout, while suggesting the company would not take the approach of using lower bands simply to give it higher coverage.

“This line of thinking is the starting point for our realistic ambition of building the best 5G network in Sweden.”

Tele2 reported revenue of SEK7 billion ($679.7 million), a 3 per cent year-on-year increase, driven by strong performance in the Baltics and its B2B operations in Sweden, while international roaming was also up SEK20 million.

Net profit slipped from SEK2.5 billion to SEK849 million, but the higher figure in Q1 2022 was mainly related to a one-off gain from a divestment in T-Mobile Netherlands.

To boost growth in its consumer unit, Tele2 resumed an external handset financing programme which it paused at the end of 2022, with financial terms improved.

It has also introduced an instalment fee for handset financing, due to increased interest rates and the rising price of devices.

Johnsen added inflationary pressures are exacerbated in its home market by a weak Swedish Krona, which is particularly visible for numerous areas of its business.

“We did foresee most of this in our plans and with our compensating efforts, our overall trajectory is in line with expectations when we presented our guidance,” he said.