French giant to take controlling interest in Jordan Telecom

FRANCE Telecom (FT) is negotiating with the Jordanian government to increase its share and take a controlling interest in Jordan Telecom (JT). The announcement was made last week in Amman as JT launched new services to mark five years of partnership with FT.

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By  Rhys Jones Published  February 20, 2005

FRANCE Telecom (FT) is negotiating with the Jordanian government to increase its share and take a controlling interest in Jordan Telecom (JT). The announcement was made last week in Amman as JT launched new services to mark five years of partnership with FT. Last month, Jordan’s cabinet asked the Executive Private Commission (EPC) to start procedures to sell government shares to the private sector as part of the telecom liberalisation process, which kicked off on January 1. The government at present owns 41.5% of JT’s capital while the rest is owned by FT, the Arab Bank and private shareholders with FT keen to increase its stake. “FT will increase its share and will, at the end of the day, control the company,” said Laurent Mialet, CEO, Jordan Telecom. “In terms of a timeframe, it depends entirely on the government and it’s in their hands, but they have stated that they wish to sell all of their shares,” he added. The move represents a big commitment from FT, a company that has in the past faced financial difficulties. However, the French organisation has made a pledge to transform the telecom environment in Jordan despite never having made a profit from its relationship with JT. “We haven’t made any money from JT yet, but we’re here long term,” said Thierry Breton, CEO, France Telecom. “Regarding the number of shares, this is in the hands of the Jordanian government. They are handling the process, not us,” he explained. The Jordan Telecom Group last week announced its ‘roadmap’ for introducing new technologies, designed to change the way Jordanians live, and the way local businesses operate. Vision 2005 marked the fifth anniversary of JT’s partnership with FT and introduced the public and businesses to five new services due to be launched this year. At the event, held under the theme ‘Solutions for a Simpler Business World', the group launched its PC @ every home initiative. The scheme is designed to increase Internet penetration in the kingdom by providing every home with a chance to acquire a personal computer with Internet connection. The group also launched its ‘Livebox’ double play solution, which allows ADSL subscribers to use a single line to access voice services as well as the Internet. Furthermore, MobileCom, the group’s mobile service arm announced it would provide the Push-To-Talk service, a facility that allows users to create groups directly from their mobile handsets. JT’s ISP provider, Wanadoo, also got in on the act and rolled out its national roaming Wi-Fi network while the Wide Area Network Service (WINS) portfolio of outsourced and managed network solutions was also showcased. Meanwhile, at the event FT hinted that it would consider entering other markets within the region if the opportunity present-ed itself. The company is closely monitoring devlopments, especially in Iraq.

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