PARIS Jan 17 Low-cost French telecoms firm
Iliad is unlikely to take part in any consolidation of
the local industry, but sees network sharing as an option to
boost operators' earnings, its founder and CEO said in a
newspaper interview on Thursday.
Iliad's "Free" service has sparked a price war in France
since its arrival last year, leading to speculation about
possible deals to consolidate the industry.
One option that has been mooted is for a tie up between
Iliad and conglomerate Bouygues' telecoms unit.
"We have years of strong growth ahead of us, consolidation
[of the sector] is not likely for us. And Bouygues Telecom is
not up for sale. There are no discussions," Xavier Niel told Le
Earlier in January, France's antitrust watchdog opposed a
proposal by Iliad and Vivendi to merge their mobile
telecoms unit, according to press reports.
Bouygues Telecom, which is hoping to obtain regulatory
authorisation to launch 4G mobile services in France, may not be
able to get a green light before the second half of the year or
even in early 2014, daily Les Echos reported without citing
Bouygues Telecom was not immediately available for comment.
(Reporting by Elena Berton and Alexandre Boksenbaum-Granier;
Editing by Mark Potter)