FT CEO blasts break-up talk

Michael Carroll
11 Mar 2011

Stephane Richard says talk of splitting France Telecom’s service and infrastructure businesses is damaging to future investment prospects.

The incumbent telco’s chief executive is worried that comments from the French Competition Authority regarding a potential split will scare off investors at a time when the firm is spending heavily on fiber deployment in the country.

He questioned whether it was appropriate for the competition authority to mention Arcep’s power to break up the telco at a time when investment is a prime concern in an interview with domestic press, L’Express.fr reported.

Richard was responding to a call for Arcep to review competition in the French fiber market within 18 months, which includes preparing a plan to separate the incumbent’s service and infrastructure arms.

However, the chief is also pragmatic, noting it is too soon to panic over the potential split because Arcep has conceded it would only take action as a last resort.

The operator last month revealed it will seek partners to help fund its fiber rollout, in the first detailed breakdown of its plans, which will see it invest €2 million to deploy services to ten million homes by 2015.

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