RealTime IT News

Mobilcom to Sell Freenet to Finance UMTS

[Berlin, GERMANY] According to a newspaper article, the telecommunication provider Mobilcom is planning to sell its subsidiary, the ISP Freenet. As the London Financial Times (FT) reported in its Wednesday edition, the proceeds are intended to finance the recently purchased UMTS license. Mobilcom has already commissioned banks with the sale of its 77 percent share of Freenet according to the British economic paper. In mid-August, Mobilcom and its partner France Telecom acquired a UMTS license for DM 16.5 billion.

"FT" reports that France Telecom has already expressed interest. The French company, which already owns 28 percent of Mobilcom, has the option to purchase additional assets which would include Freenet.de.

It has been difficult for Freenet.de to compete with T-Online, Europe's biggest Internet portal, and AOL Europe. The company has a customer base similar to Germany.de, a branch of the British company Vodafone. But despite Freenet.de being one of the largest service providers in Germany, it is only the tenth most preferred portal. This was determined by surveys conducted by the market research group MMXI. Analysts say that every big European Internet company such as T-Online, the Italian company Tiscali, Spain's Terra Networks and Wanadoo, France Telecom's portal, could be interested in acquiring Freenet.de. "Freenet.de is attractive because its buyer would acquire a large basis of Internet subscribers," said Melissa Earlam, analyst at UBS Warburg London.