Tuesday, April 22, 2008

UMA: The reason behind the Orange/FT - TeliaSonera discussions

Early last week rumors began circulating that Orange/France Telecom may be interested in acquiring TeliaSonera. An article in the International Herald Tribune provided an analysis, but left an odd question unanswered at the end of the article:

“Why would France Telecom possibly want to make [another] European acquisition?”

As the article points out, there’s little geographic overlap, the logic for incumbents merging is ‘muddled’, and its outside France Telecom’s stated goals.

Finally on Friday, things began to clear up. France Telecom Finance Director Gervais Pellissier said that acquiring TeliaSonera could give FT the scale it needs to counter future competitive threats from companies such as Google and/or Apple.

“How do you expect us to develop the LiveBox if we don’t have several million customers using it? How can we push UMA if we don’t have that power?” asked Mr. Pellissier.

Great question! Pushing UMA is a TOP priority for Orange/FT right now and clearly it’s viewed as a technical competitive advantage. UMA gives Orange an advantage in its “Home Zone 2.0” strategy.

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