By Marsha Johnston
Apparently undaunted by their loss of the French national railway operator Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fers SNCF network operator contract bid, Dusseldorf-based Veba AG, Bouygues SA and STET SpA are analysing possibilities for a permanent partnership as a full-service telecoms operator in France. Hermann Kraemer, member of Veba’s board for telecommunications strategy, said the companies were talking about intensifying their existing alliance in Bouygues Telecom, which manages a DCS 1800 network in France. Veba owns 17.5% of Bouygues Telecom, while STET owns 19.6% of Bouygues-Decaux Telecom, which in turn owns 54% of Bouygues Telecom. The companies are under a certain time constraint, Kraemer said, since The French telecommunications industry deregulation deadline of January 1 1998 is coming quickly, but we still have to make a thorough analysis. Our main interest is of course the German market, but we are also interested in European business. That principle has not changed just because Cable & Wireless is no longer our partner. (CI No 3,096). Both Rene Russo, vice president of Bouygues Telecom, and Carlo Mezzanotte, director of new business development for STET International, confirmed that they are discussing further partnership with Veba. Veba is quite interested in the French market, and now that we don’t have the SNCF project, there are other opportunities to explore, he said. Kraemer did not rule out Veba becoming part of Bouygues-STET Telecom BST, Bouygues’ joint venture with STET formed to become a global operator in France.