Euro Mud Slinging
French president Jacques Chirac has had a right pop at the 3G license auction processes adopted by the British and German governments (though without naming them, zee coward!) in a bid to show Orange SA's (London/Paris: OGE) parent company France Telecom SA (NYSE: FTE) that he's sticking up for the home team.
The French telco and its Orange offshoot have had a bit of a rough time as a result of a high price paid in Germany for a 3G license, remember (see MobilCom, Namedropper and FT Dumps MobilCom).
Sounding off about what a desperate state Europe's telecom market is in because of all the 3G headaches, Chirac is reported by Reuters to have said that certain governments had taken "completely excessive and irresponsible rake-offs" when they auctioned 3G licenses. Now he wants the EC to organize a rescue package for the sector.
Someone really ought to remind Chirac that the French government initially wanted €4 billion for each of the four UMTS licenses it was looking to offload. That plan was canned when only two operators applied.
This leaves us to ponder Whether Chirac is suffering from ignorance, a short memory, or support-generating selective memory. None does him any credit -- or the European telecom sector any favors.
— Ray Le Maistre, European Editor, Unstrung www.unstrung.com