France Télécom went on a spending spree last year, accumulating $55 billion in debt but adding wireless and data divisions it believes will make the company a pan-European operator and a global player in business services.
Currently, fixed line services account for 36 percent of the companys revenue, down from 75 percent in 1995.
France Télécom, which had 2000 revenue of $31.7 billion, is focusing on three key subsidiaries: Global One/Equant, the com-panys voice and data business; Orange, its wireless arm; and Wanadoo, its multimedia and data subsidiary. Orange has 33 million customers in 20 countries and is the No. 2 mobile operator in Europe. Wanadoo has 4.5 million customers in France and the U.K., and predicts it will have more than 600,000 Asymmetric DSL subscribers by years end.
With the completion of its 15,000-mile American backbone set for the end of this year, France Télécom is targeting international development. "In 2003, we expect 55 percent of our revenues to be earned outside of our historical domestic market — France," says Chairman and CEO Michel Bon.