PARIS, Sept 29 Deutsche Telekom on Thursday
disavowed comments made by Chief Technology Officer Olivier
Baujard in an interview with Reuters a day earlier, in which he
said the company was reconsidering its German investment plan
and weighing possible backup plans if its proposed sale of U.S.
unit T-Mobile to AT&T was blocked.
Andreas Fuchs, a spokesman for the German operator, said:
"Mr. Baujard is not a member of the board or the management of
Telekom Germany [the German operation]. Baujard is not involved
in the decision processes of either, and he is in particular not
involved in the sale of T-Mobile or investments of Deutsche
Telekom in Germany."
Fuchs' statement reverses what Baujard said in a recorded
interview conducted by two Reuters reporters in the presence of
a corporate press officer.
During the interview, Baujard said that the company believed
the T-Mobile U.S. deal would eventually be approved by
regulators and that the current stance of U.S. authorities was
"hardball negotiating tactic."
Baujard said: "Of course we cannot guarantee that it gets
through, and we are thinking of what would be a Plan B, a
Deutsche Telekom agreed to sell its U.S. unit to AT&T for
$39 billion in March, but U.S. regulators have sued to block the
deal on the grounds that it would be bad for consumers and
discourage operators from improving their networks.
Separately in the interview on Wednesday, Baujard spoke of
how the dimming macroeconomic outlook was leading Deutsche
Telekom to re-examine its capital expenditure plans. "We are now
to reveal our plans to be much more capex efficient," he said at
Asked whether he confirmed the company's goal to invest 10
billion euro in its fixed and mobile networks in Germany from
2010-2012, Baujard declined to do so.
He then added: "I cannot say that yet. But if I don't say
that, you can imagine what we are starting to think about...It
is something we are working on."
But Fuchs, the company spokesman, repeated the 10 billion
goal on Thursday. "These plans have not changed," he said.
On the company's website, Baujaurd's role at Deutsche
Telekom is described in this way: "As Chief Technology Officer
for the entire Group, Olivier Baujard is responsible for the
Group-wide engineering, deployment and operation of fixed,
mobile and carrier infrastructures."
On the issue of the sale of T-Mobile in the United States,
Fuchs also expressed a view different that of the chief
"Deutsche Telekom is convinced that the sale of T-Mobile USA
is the best solution for the consumer. Of this we want to
convince the Department of Justice in concert with AT&T," he
said in an emailed statement. "There is no Plan B."
The planned exit from the United States is key to the
company's strategy to strengthen its German business by
investing in its network while seeking growth in emerging
markets of Eastern Europe.
The operator had also planned to plough some of the proceeds
from the T-Mobile deal into share buybacks as a way of rewarding
shareholders after years of declines in its share price.
(Reporting By Leila Abboud; Editing by David Cowell)