Bell Atlantic said it would make a concerted effort to break into the European market once it has digested its $25.6 billion merger with fellow US telco, Nynex.
The company?s European chief, Giancarlo Ferrero, said in a briefing in Italy: ?I expect a strong resumption of our push in Europe, maybe not straight away because we have to digest the merger.? He said it was too early to say whether Bell was seeking any alliances.
With the merger between BT and MCI in disarray, Europe is once again a hot target for other US telcos. Bell, whose own merger with Nynex will make it the biggest player in the US after AT&T, has limited market share in Europe. But it does offer potential partners valuable experience of data convergence and broadband services, according to Steve Wallage, research manager at industry analysts Datapro. Bell is also advanced in intelligent network-based services such as call waiting.
Wallage believes Bell could invade Europe through its interests in Italy, mainly in partnership with Olivetti. It currently owns 17.4 per cent of Omnitel Pronto Italia, Italy?s second mobile phone operator, and 33 per cent of Infostrada, the country?s second telco.
Bell will be unlikely to benefit greatly from Nynex? interests in the UK. Nynex is looking to pull out of its cable interests here, which were merged earlier in the year into Cable & Wireless Communications.
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