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June 5, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:18pm


By CBR Staff Writer

The telecommunications Unisource consortium of Telia AB of Sweden, Koninklijke PTT Nederland NV and Swiss Telecom yesterday announced plans to merge its carrier services operations into a $2bn revenue pan-European wholesaler. A Unisource statement said the international carrier units would be merged into Unisource Carrier Service, as of January 1 1998 and be headquartered in Wallisellen/Zurich in Switzerland. But for the merger to come into being it needs the approval of the companies’ borders and regulators as well as that of the European Commission. Assuming that it is given the green light the merger would create Europe’s most extensive, centrally-managed Pan-European carrier, Unisource said, that would be a more powerful rival to the Concert alliance of British Telecommunications Plc and MCI Communications Corp and to the Global One consortium of Sprint Corp, France Telecom SA and Deutsche Telekom AG than Unisource, as a loose partnership, ever was. Paul Smits, president and chief executive of Unisource said the merger would put them in a leading position in the global telecommunications wholesale market and that the company could no longer be considered a loose alliance. In the past, critics had argued that Unisource was not as strong a competitor as the others and thus hardly able to pull off lucrative multinational contracts in Europe. Smits also added that the planned merger had been in the air for some time and that the defection of Telefonica de Espana to Concert had hastened the move. The Spanish company jumped ship last month leaving Unisource rather shaken (CI No 3,170). The merger would also boost the position of AT&T Corp, which has a joint enterprise with Unisource, known as AT&T-Unisource Communications venture, on the $160m European market where at the moment the US carrier plays a minor role.

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