While attention within France centres around the resignation of France Telecom's deputy CEO following a spate of suicides within the company, unconfirmed reports claim that Orascam Telecom has quietly sounded out the possibility of joining a consortium to bid for the fourth French 3G licence.
Orascom Telecom, backed by the Egyptian entrepreneur Naguib Sawiris through his Weather Investments holding company, has previously made plain his ambitions to enter the French cellular market and is reported to have approached the Numericable-Virgin Mobile consortium about a potential investment.
Naguib Sawiris, who has a reputation for the unconventional, is said to have offered to buy into the Numericable-Virgin Mobile grouping following ‘fruitless talks' with Iliad and Bollore Telecom over a possible tie-up.
Orascom Telecom was linked with a possible takeover of another French mobile operator, Bouygues Telecom, in 2007.
For more on this story:
Virgin Mobile taunts market with French 3G licence bid
New French 3G licence gets ugly - operators complain to EU
French president gets involved with fourth 3G licence
French raise stakes for fourth licence auction