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.