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France Télécom S.A.
Type Société Anonyme (Euronext: FTE, NYSEFTE)
Founded 1988 (spun off from governmental control)
Headquarters Paris, France
Area served Worldwide
Key people Didier Lombard (Chairman), Stéphane Richard (CEO)
Industry Telecommunications
Products Fixed line and mobile telephony, internet, digital television, IT services
Revenue 45.94 billion (2009)[1]
Operating income €7.859 billion (2009)[1]
Profit €2.997 billion (2009)[1]
Total assets €92.04 billion (2009)[1]
Total equity €28.75 billion (2009)[1]
Employees 167,150 (FTE, 2009)[1]
Subsidiaries Orange
Website www.francetelecom.com

France Télécom S.A. (Euronext: FTE, NYSEFTE) is the main telecommunications company in France, the third-largest in Europe[2] and one of the largest in the world. It currently employs about 180,000 people (half outside of France) and has 192.7 million customers worldwide (2010). In 2008 the group had revenue of €53.5 billion. Its headquarters are in Place d'Alleray in the 15th arrondissement of Paris,[3] and the current CEO is Stéphane Richard.

Contents

History

Up to 1988, France Télécom was known as the Direction Générale des Télécommunications, a division of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. It became autonomous in 1990. It was privatized by Lionel Jospin's Plural Left government starting in January 1, 1998. The French government, both directly and through its holding company ERAP, continues to hold a stake of almost 27% in the firm. In addition, the government Conseil of Ministers names the CEO. [4]

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Recent acquisitions and divestitures

In Summer 2003 France Télécom sold a 48% shareholding in Telecom Argentina, which it had jointly run with Telecom Italia, to the Argentinian Werthein family. FT now holds only 2% of the firm. In 2003 FT sold CTE El Salvador.

In August 2005, FT acquired a 77% ownership in the Spanish mobile phone company Amena, rebranding it Orange España.

In December 2006, France Télécom announced the acquisition of DIWAN and SILICOMP specialized on the Customer Critical Application (CCA) and Security for enterprises.

In November 2007, FT announced it had acquired a bid to secure 51% of Telkom Kenya's shares from the Government of Kenya, but will have to bring about 11% of shares back out onto the market three years following the deal.

In June 2008, the firm abandoned a €27 billion bid for Swedish operator TeliaSonera after the two companies failed to agree terms.[5]

France Telecom Group world activities

On September 8, 2009 Orange and T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom announced they were in advanced talks to merge their UK operations to create the largest mobile operator with 37% of the market. It is unclear the future of either brand when such deal is completed in November. [6]

Service quality and connection availability

France has an unusually large proportion of overhead, as opposed to underground, telecommunications lines. Underinvestment in infrastructure improvement has resulted in a steady decline in reliability and service availability, with certain areas of France experiencing widespread service failure several times per annum. Although a programme of fibre optic cabling is under way, it is a year behind schedule, and parts of the French telephone network have some of the worst signal-noise ratios in Europe. France Télécom's standard broadband offering is the Livebox, a combined modem and Wi-Fi router, with over 6 million units sold by August 2008. The Livebox has been plagued with problems, however, and often requires extensive user intervention before it will function properly. Some Apple Mac users report that all attempts to use the Livebox's Wi-Fi connection have failed, even after repeated calls to France Télécom's helpline. Broadband linespeeds can also be significantly less than advertised, particularly in rural areas where customers may be a considerable distance from their nearest exchange, in which case peak-time performance can be similar to that available with a 56K modem.[citation needed]

Subsidiaries

France Telecom Marine operates cable-laying ships

France Télécom is a communications access provider offering customers access through multiple platforms. The four key platforms France Télécom operates are:

  1. fixed line telephone, mainly in France and Poland.
  2. broadband access.
  3. mobile phone telephony.
  4. most recently, IPTV, though currently only in France and Spain, with MaLigne TV, now known as Orange TV.

France Télécom has already begun merging the different internal divisions managing each platform and they now almost all operate under the Orange brand.[7]

France Télécom is present in the US through its Equant enterprise services and its venture capital arm, Innovacom as well as two R&D labs: one in Boston and the other in South San Francisco, California.

As a result of deregulation, France Télécom operates phone booth in Wellington, New Zealand.

OpenTransit is France Télécom's backbone network. It covers Europe, the United States, Japan, Hong Kong, and loops back to Paris.

GlobeCast is the world largest provider of transmission of satellite and production services for professional broadcast, online content and enterprise multimedia. Globecast World TV is a division of GlobeCast.

In 2004 France Télécom is likely to have to pay back €1 billion in alleged unlawful subsidies (in breach of state aid rules) it received from the French government, following an 18-month investigation by Mario Monti, the EC Competition Commissioner. It is understood that both France Télécom and the French government are appealing this decision.

The former CEO of France Télécom Thierry Breton was appointed in 2002 after leaving his previous company Thomson SA (formerly THOMSON Multimedia SA, owner of the legendary American brand RCA) where he served as the CEO. On February 25, 2005, he was appointed Minister of Finance and Industry and replaced as CEO by Didier Lombard, who had been head of the firm's new technologies division.[8]

Staff suicides

Between the beginning of January 2008 and the end of January 2010, thirty-four France Télécom employees committed suicide, some leaving notes blaming stress and misery at work. In October 2009, the wave of suicides led former Deputy CEO Louis-Pierre Wenes to resign under trade union pressure, to be replaced by Stephane Richard. [9][10]. Faced with repeated suicides, the company named Stephane Richard chief executive officer on 1 February 2010, while Didier Lombard will remain chairman, with their roles split under a new plan. [11]

The suicide rate among France Télécom's 102,000 domestic employees is 15.3 per year, compared with an average of 14.7 suicides per 100,000 in the French population as a whole.[12]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Annual Results 2009". France Télécom. http://www.francetelecom.com/en_EN/finance/invest-analysts/cons-results/att00014504/CONSOLIDATEDSTATEMENTS200912FRANCETELECOM.pdf. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  2. ^ Mekay, Emad (5 April 2008). "France Telecom Wins Controlling Stake in MobiNil". Bloomberg. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601085&sid=aHWRv7uy7gJc&refer=europe. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  3. ^ "legal matters." France Télécom. Retrieved on 6 October 2009.
  4. ^ "Shareholding structure". France Télécom. http://www.francetelecom.com/en_EN/finance/stock/shareholder-structure/index.html. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  5. ^ Gow, David (1 July 2008). "TeliaSonera: France Télécom hangs up on Swedish operator". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/jul/01/telecomindustry. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ "Wanadoo is to make way for Orange". BBC News. 29 June 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4635097.stm. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  8. ^ Ruitenberg, Rudy (27 February 2005). "France Telecom Names Lombard Chief Executive, Replacing Breton". Bloomberg. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000085&sid=aWQM6cGZu.Uw&refer=europe. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  9. ^ http://www.reuters.com/article/managementIssues/idUSL711729320091007?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=11604
  10. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/09/france-telecom-staff-suicides-phone
  11. ^ Matthew Campbell (2010-02-01). News: "France Telecom Names Richard CEO; Lombard to Remain Chairman" (in English). Business Week. http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-02-01/france-telecom-names-richard-ceo-lombard-to-remain-chairman.html News:. 
  12. ^ Sage, Adam (23 September 2009). "Why are France Télécom employees committing suicide?". The Times. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/mental_health/article6844809.ece. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 

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