AT&T and Unisource have cemented their German interests by taking a stake in Mannesmann Arcor, the telecomms operation set up by German railway company Deutsche Bahn and conglomerate Mannesmann.
Mannesmann Arcor offers worldwide voice and data services to companies based in Germany and plans to sell to residential customers once Deutsche Telekom's monopoly in this market is lifted in January, said a spokesperson.
AT&T and European telecomms operator Unisource each own 15 per cent of the organisation whose other shareholders are Deutsche Bahn, Mannesmann and Deutsche Bank.
The company has around 7,000 employees and posted 1996 revenues of DM900 million. So far, DM400 million has been invested in expansion and a further DM4 million worth of investment are planned in the next five years. Currently it is the second largest telecomms operator in Germany after Deutsche Telekom.
The German telecomms market is the biggest in Europe and many operators are fighting to gain a foothold before full liberalisation next year. According to market researcher Ovum the strongest challenger to Deutsche Telekom is Cable & Wireless? joint venture with Veba and RWE. RWE was originally in a consortium with BT and Viag Interkom but joined the Cable & Wireless alliance in October. This left BT in a weak position in Germany, says Ovum, despite holding a 37.5 per cent stake in Viag.
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