French govt wants mobile telecoms consolidation-minister

PARIS, June 12 Thu Jun 12, 2014 3:39am EDT

PARIS, June 12 (Reuters) - The government still wants to reduce the number of mobile telecom operators in France to three from four to bring an end to the "destructive spiral" of falling prices, Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg said on Thursday.

His comments follow indications from third-placed Bouygues Telecom on Wednesday that tie-up talks with two other players, Orange and Iliad, had not succeeded.

The operator, a subsidiary of conglomerate Bouygues , said it plans to cut 1,516 jobs or 17 percent of its staff to reduce costs to ensure its survival in a market where prices are down by nearly one-third.

"I am calling on all players to find other solutions than job cuts," Montebourg told a telecoms conference organised by Les Echos newspaper. "There are other solutions on the table and we must make them work together." (Reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic and Leila Abboud; Writing by Andrew Callus)