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June 11, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:38pm

CEGETEL NOT WORRIED ABOUT NEW FRENCH GOVERNMENT

By CBR Staff Writer

Cegetel SA, the challenger to France’s state-owned telecoms operator France Telecom, is not worried that the new Socialist government of Lionel Jospin will be obstructive to new operators, according to its managing director Philippe Germond, in spite of the government’s resistance to the continued privatization of France Telecom. We have carefully examined the Socialist Party’s policy program. It would appear that they want, above all, to encourage those who invest in infrastructure. At the end of the year, we will have invested a total of $2.9bn -$3.2bn, so we are not too worried, he told Les Echos. He did, however, stress that Cegetel wants to see France Telecom put under the same constraints it has, as a publicly quoted company. The main reason, he said, is to have greater transparency in the government-held operator’s accounting procedures. Cegetel, which competes with France Telecom in the mobile sector, believes the operator subsidizes its competitive mobile activity with funds from its monopoly voice telephony business. There exists a second uncertainty for the telecom challengers; the amount they will be required to pay (as will France Telecom) for the provision of a public telephone service, which will be executed by France Telecom. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, ART, is scheduled to set the charge in September. The tariffs will have to be approved by the new government, which will be the first confrontation between it and the authority, which is run by a Chirac ally.

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