Massacre in Paris

A logical consequence of this was the collapse of Nordic NMT collaboration.

At the end of 1992, the NMT grouping extended its range by turning itself into Executive Mobile Operators (EMO), comprising NMT operators from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Hans Myhre became its secretary-general. Mobile telephony (both NMT and GSM) paging, data services and product development were gathered under one umbrella, establishing closer collaboration at a strategic level.

NMT operators from the Netherlands and Switzerland were included in EMO at the beginning of 1994. A secretariat was established to coordinate EMO’s activities. 

But before the end of the year, the agreement had come to an end. The break-up took place at the Grand Hotel Inter-Continental, a few meters from the Paris Opera, on Friday, October 14. The people involved in NMT describe it as the “Paris massacre”.

Myhre recounts: “EMO’s executive committee was meeting. The Dutch chairman had drawn up a document describing how the world was changing. Alliances were being created, partners were becoming competitors. The conclusion was that EMO had to adapt to the changing environment and exploit its strengths in its continued work. Special emphasis was placed on the strong and fruitful collaboration at CEO level whereas cooperation in the working groups was characterized as ‘...without adequate results’ and ‘...a drain on resources’. In practical terms, it was proposed that the working groups, apart from those linked to NMT, should be terminated and only a forum for CEOs retained.”


The proposal was adopted after a brief discussion. During the coffee break that followed, it emerged that not all the participants were equally aware of the situation or had been prepared for the outcome. Not even the sub-committees had been told anything; “a lot of people were fairly puzzled when they understood that our cooperation had come to an end”, Myhre recalls.

Myhre was given the task of officially terminating EMO collaboration. This took place in Helsinki on November 22, 1994. All its activities apart from NMT and a few smaller projects were terminated: “... an epoch of more than 25 years with very open Nordic cooperation is now going to its grave”, to quote the minutes of the Helsinki meeting.

“Even so, there can be no doubt that cooperation in the sub-committees was much more productive than the Dutch chairman asserted and certainly one of the reasons why the Nordic mobile industry (Ericsson and Nokia) and at least one Nordic operator (Telenor) have been so successful globally,” Myhre says.

Author: Svenolof Karlsson & Anders Lugn

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