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France Telecom Reveals International Strategy

France Telecom announced Thursday that it would pursue an aggressive global strategy, following its acquisition of corporate telecom service provider Global One.

With full control of Global One, already a worldwide brand in corporate communications, the French telecom giant is better positioned to develop its voice and IP carrier wholesale business, especially across Europe.

"This acquisition is a major step forward in France Telecom's international strategy," said Michel Bon, chairman and chief executive officer of France Telecom.

Bon said that a combination of global size and strong local presence would allow the companies to offer business customers a solution that answered all their needs.

France Telecom started Global One in January 1996 as a joint venture with Deutsche Telekom and Sprint. It has since become a leading corporate telecom service provider with 1999 revenues of $1.1 billion.

30,000 companies, including UPS, Unilever, Coca Cola, Hewlett Packard and Nortel Networks use Global One, which has a sales presence in the U.K. and over 60 other countries.

France Telecom has stated that one of its strategic goals is to become the leading European wholesale carrier for both voice and IP. It sees single ownership of Global One as being an important step towards achieving that goal.

The original shareholders in Global One have guaranteed continuity of service for a two-year transition period.

"To achieve this transition, the major short term objective will be to implement a series of aggressive action plans addressing key management and operational issues," said Daniel Caclin, who is expected to be named shortly as the new chief executive officer of Global One.

Global One's worldwide ATM-based network reaches more than 800 cities in 40 countries. Its services include VPN, call centers, frame relay, LAN-to-LAN, together with Internet and Intranet solutions and its flagship service Global ATM.