A relaxation of third-generation (3G) licence commitments in Norway could renew ambitions at Hutchison Whampoa, which has become one of the largest telecommunications investors in the Nordic region. The Hong Kong-based company yesterday said it would not rule out the chance to buy another licence in Norway, which would create synergy effects with its 3G operations in Denmark and Sweden. 'It depends on many factors such as licensing costs and market conditions,' Hutchison spokeswoman Laura Cheung said. 'I would not say we are necessarily interested.' Last Friday, the Norwegian government said it would allow 3G operators six years to provide coverage for 30 per cent of its 4.5 million residents, relaxing the original coverage agreement of 40 per cent in five years. Two of the four 3G licensees - Tele2 and Broadband Mobile - returned their auctioned 3G licences to the government, with TeliaSonera and Telenor carrying on with their commitments. Hi3G Access, a 60:40 venture between Hutchison and Swedish Investors, previously indicated it would consider entering Norway, and met Norwegian officials several times to voice concerns over stringent coverage requirements. The Hong Kong-Swedish joint venture, which also showed interest in unwanted 3G licences in Finland, said licensing conditions were only one factor it would take into account in Norway. 'We'll continue to keep our ear to the ground in Norway,' Niclas Lilja, a spokesman for Hi3G Access told Dow Jones. Mr Lilja said: 'It's not like the change created any 'Whoo-hoo, let's go and look'.' He said Hi3G had planned a gradual launch under the new '3' brand in Sweden this spring. 'There will be no big bang, D-day,' he said, explaining that the service would spread as network coverage increased and the operator gained experience with the new subscriber services such as video-calling. Hutchison wanted to expand in the Nordic region to achieve better efficiency. It is bidding against Britain's Virgin Mobile, the world's most famous virtual mobile network operator, in taking up an unwanted Finnish 3G licence from TeliaSonera.