France Telecom eyeing partnerships with web giants

PARIS, June 1 Wed Jun 1, 2011 12:32pm EDT

PARIS, June 1 (Reuters) - France Telecom FTE.PA sees opportunities for working with Google (GOOG.O) and other internet players and thinks they will be open to discussing new ways to generate and share revenue, its chief executive said.

Stephane Richard had told an investor day on Tuesday that announcements could be made concerning tie-ups with Silicon Valley companies in the coming weeks.

He told journalists on Wednesday that he had talked to Google about a stronger segmentation of access to telecoms networks, making users who want a better service -- a more stable or faster connection -- pay more.

In that situation, the two groups could share the extra revenue generated by differentiating levels of service, he said. "Larry Page told me that they were open-minded on the subject and ready to start discussions," he said, referring to the co-founder of Google.

France Telecom, like its competitors, has been faced with an explosion in traffic in recent years on its mobile network, linked to the rise in smartphones and the growing popularity video and internet on mobile phones.

This exponential rise in data traffic has not generated a proportional increase in revenue. (Reporting by Marie Mawad; Writing by Helen Massy-Beresford; Editing by David Holmes)

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