Mobile Phones Boost France Telecom Revenue

Bolstered by growth in the mobile-phone market and international activities, France Telecom SA today said its revenue grew 9.2 percent in the first half of 1999, to approximately 13 billion euros (US$13.89 billion).

That compares to revenue of 11.9 billion euros in the same period the previous year, France Telecom said in a statement today.

The company did not release profit figures, nor did it break out its figures by quarter.

Domestic fixed and wireless telephone traffic increased 9.8 percent year-on-year, which France Telecom attributed to growing numbers of calls for Internet access and to mobile telephones. However, alternative carriers have also increased their share in the long-distance market to roughly 12 percent, up from about 5 percent in December 1998, France Telecom said.

The French carrier's revenue from fixed-line telephony was under pressure due to price competition, however. Overall fixed-line revenue increased 3.5 percent over the previous year, from 7.03 billion euros to 7.05 billion euros, and domestic revenue fell slightly.

The mobile business saw healthy growth, with revenue jumping 43.3 percent, from 1.6 billion euros in the first two quarters ending June 30 to 2.3 billion euros. The growth came mainly from the mobile carrier Intineris, which added 3 million subscribers over the past 12 months.

Sales from leased lines and data transmission businesses rose 4.1 percent to 1.2 billion euros, from 1.1 billion euros in the first two quarters of 1998. Excluding the results of its Global One alliance with Deutsche Telekom AG and Sprint Corp., revenue in this area increased by 8.6 percent.

Revenue from information services grew 17.6 percent. However, traffic from France Telecom's Audiotel telephone information services, its online service Minitel, and electronic delivery services fell slightly.

France Telecom's international business grew 41.2 percent in the first two quarters of the year, achieving 1.4 billion euros in revenue. That mainly came from the carrier's international fixed line businesses.

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