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Bouygues Telecom Offers to Sell its Network Infrastructure to Rival Network

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France's Bouygues Telecom would consider selling its network infrastructure to secure regulatory approval to buy rival mobile network SFR.

As a merger of SFR and Bouygues Telecom would create a giant in the industry, Bouygues is expected to have to offer substantial concessions to gain approval for the deal.

Bouygues Telecom's CEO, Olivier Roussat now says that they have already made an offer to sell their entire infrastructure to the country's smallest mobile network, Free.

"We've entered into exclusive negotiations to cede our entire mobile network to Free for an amount of up to EUR1.8 billion," Bouygues Telecom CEO Olivier Roussat told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper.

Free is currently reliant on roaming over the Orange network as it builds out its own network, so this deal would achieve the regulatory concession of ensuring that there is a third national network operator.

The deal also reduces Orange's income from roaming fees, which would be a nice bonus for SFR/Bougues.

Last week, both Bouygues Telecom and Numericable made offers to Vivendi to buy its SFR mobile network, and the company is now studying their offers.

Numericable's offer would be easier to clear as deal would retain the existing four mobile networks.

Bouygues Telecom's offer would see the number of networks cut to three, but its offer to sell its infrastructure to Free would turn what could have been an effective duopoly into a competitive market with three viable operators.

Free currently has 7.4 million customers, against 27 million customers at Orange. SFR and Bouygues Telecom combined would have 32 million customer.

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Tags: bouygues telecom  sfr  vivendi  France