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French operator looks to Democratic Republic of Congo to drive growth

One of the most prominent operators in Western Europe could be expanding into Africa. Reports indicate that France Telecom is conducting negotiations with ZTE over the purchase of a controlling stake in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Congo China Telecom.

The Chinese vendor currently holds a 51% stake in the operator – which is the fourth largest in the market with around 1.14 million customers – while the remainder is held by the country’s government. It has been suggested that France Telecom may acquire this 49% stake at a later date. Together, these transactions would be worth around EUR300 million (US$425.7 million).

France Telecom – along with many European operators – has been investigating growth markets in Africa and the Middle East in the face of increasingly saturated European markets. With a population of 65 million but a penetration rate of only 17%, the DRC represents a large growth opportunity.

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