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Global Telecoms Business
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Germond: unbundling the local loop is the key

01 November 1999

Cegetel, France's leading alternative operator, already has close to seven million mobile subscribers. In fixed, it is advocating rapid unbundling of the local loop. It is developing a multimedia strategy, drawing on the benefits of its main shareholder's interests in BskyB and Canal +. Cegetel's CEO Philippe Germond talks to Global Telecoms Business about its plans.

Cegetel, the leading alternative service provider to France, has been calling on the French government to unbundle the local loop. Khaled Beydoun, a utilities equity analyst at HSBC, examines the unbundling issue and the role of France's regulatory authority, ART: "Cegetel feels very strongly that the regulator is siding with France Telecom on the unbundling issue. In theory the regulator had promised a decision some time in the early part of this year. That hasn't come. This has clearly affected Vivendi's expectations and performance on the fixed line side. The local access issue is a very important part of their multimedia strategy, as it gives them access to the client."

Vivendi, one of the world's biggest water utilities, owns 44% of Cegetel. It is also owned by such established international operators as British Telecom (26%), SBC (15%) and Mannesmann (15%). The operator's prime asset is its mobile operation SFR. By the end of...