France Telecom has begun talks with ZTE Corp regarding a potential buyout of the Chinese company’s 51% share of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) cellco Congo China Telecom (CCT). In addition, the French telco is considering entering the tender for the remaining 49%, currently being offered by the Congolese government. If completed the deal would cost France Telecom an estimated EUR300 million (USD425 million), largely due to CCT’s significant debt. The move to gain a foothold in DRC is part of a larger strategy from France Telecom to offset declining revenues from competition in Europe by expanding into emerging markets in Africa and the Middle East. Under its Orange banner, France Telecom already has a presence in 14 African countries.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, at the end of March 2011 CCT had a 1% share of the wireless market with 115,000 subscribers.