Telecom firms in talks over pan-Europe network - FT

LONDON Tue Jan 8, 2013 5:44pm EST

LONDON (Reuters) - Europe's top telecommunication companies are discussing the creation of a pan-European infrastructure network to unite the region's disjointed national markets, the Financial Times newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The idea of sharing telecoms infrastructure was discussed at a private meeting between Joaquin Almunia, the European Union's competition chief, and bosses of Europe biggest groups, including Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE), France Telecom FTE.PA, Telecom Italia (TLIT.MI) and Telefonica (TEF.MC), the newspaper said.

The FT cited several people familiar with the talks as saying the industry attendees left the meeting intent on exploring the idea due to frustrations over their inability to compete in Europe's fragmented market.

"The operators expressed a deep sense of frustration and agreed to bring constructive ideas of how a European market could work," the FT quoted one person familiar with the meeting as saying.

"Objections won't come from Europe, they will be from the <EU's 27 national> regulators."

Europe's telecoms companies, which dominate the continent's market through their various national subsidiaries, have been caught out by the region's financial difficulties and face rising competition from global technology groups.

Representatives of the European Commission, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, Telecom Italia and Telefonica were not immediately available to comment.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Dan Grebler)