France Telecom sizing up Middle East

French telecoms giant, France Telecom, is eyeing expansion in the Middle East following the success of its Egyptian operations.

On Tuesday, the company’s chairman, Didier Lombard met Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and Minister of Communications Tariq Kamel, on the first leg of a three-day trip.

Lombard said his company was focused on the region because “it is where the growth rate is one of the highest”. And he should know: France Telecom owns 71.25 per cent of Egyptian operator Mobinil, which holds 52 per cent market share in its local market with 10 million subscribers.

Lombard said France Telecom was looking at leveraging Mobinil’s success for other projects in the region. “We used to follow this process in all parts of the world and usually it is more efficient than direct investment,” he said.

France Telecom has 160 million customers with more than 100 million outside France.

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