European telecoms: “No, we don’t want to create a European network”
The FT reported a few days ago that the European telecoms – with blessing of EU competition chief Almunia – were discussing the creation of a pan-European telecom player.
The idea was to pool all the infrastructure of the big European players into one big network player. The European telecoms who transferred their networks would then participate in the new European entity. This big player would make it easier to attract capital to invest in next generation mobile and fiber networks.
But Reuters reports that ‘sources familiar with the meetings’ say that the talks were centered on mergers and consolidations between European players:
“European telecoms operators want more consolidation in a crowded market, industry sources said on Wednesday, but have not discussed creating a single network for the continent with competition authorities in Brussels.”
“The talks were centred in consolidation in Europe and in sharing networks, and not in a single market or in a single telecoms network in Europe,” the source said.
Note that the source doesn’t actually deny that they talked about a single network – he or she just says that it wasn’t central in the discussions.
Recently, Vivendi chairman Jean-François Dubos said that with 100 telecoms, the European market was too crowded and that consolidation in the sector was inevitable.
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