Orange eyes Vietnam as potential growth vehicle

Having failed to gain an entry into new markets with the collapse of its bid for TeliaSonera, France Telecom (FT) mobile arm Orange has moved on and is evaluating the Vietnamese market, a country, it claims, with 'marvellous' growth potential. The company is looking to generate an extra 0.5 per cent revenue growth through medium-sized purchases in the coming years following the TeliaSonera failure, said FT's CEO, Didier Lombard. "With TeliaSonera, we tried to do it in one shot. As this wasn't possible, we'll do it slowly through smaller acquisitions. That way, our shareholders will accept it more easily.''

About seven companies in Asia and Europe, including Vodafone and operators in Russia and Asia, have expressed interest in buying shares of Vietnam's state-owned mobile operator, MobiFone. The Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communications has said it will send invitation letters asking operators to bid for the 3G licences this month, with a response required within two months. Russia's second largest mobile phone operator, Vimpelcom, has already committed to invest around US$270 million in a JV with Vietnam's Global Telecommunications Corp. The new company, G-Tel Mobile, will start providing cell phone services in Vietnam next summer. 

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Related stories:
France Telecom fails to win TeliaSonera, looks for smaller fish. FT story 

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