Cegetel SA, the telecommunications unit of Compagnie Generale des Eaux SA, says it will invest $858.3m per year over the next three years in a push to build-up its infrastructure to rival France Telecom by the time the market is deregulated on January 1 1998. All the more reason why the state-owned telco should be worrying now France’s new left-wing government looks sure to scupper its privatization plans and leave it unable to compete in a deregulated market. Cegetel says it can rely on its strong parent groups to help its investments – Generale des Eaux holds a 44% stake, British Telecommunications Plc a 26% stake, SBC Communications Inc has an indirect 15% and Mannesmann AG a direct 15%. According to Phillipe Germond, Cegetel managing director, over the next 10 years the company aims to win 40% of the French mobile telecoms market, 20% of the long distance fixed markets, 30% of local traffic in the towns where it operates and 20% of data traffic. Germond said Cegetel aimed to have local loops in one-third of France’s towns. He said that the total French telecommunications market was set to grow to $35bn by 2006. Cegetel is currently exclusive distributor for British Telcom and MCI Communications Corp’s Concert services in France.