Sprint Corp, as the one remaining major US long-distance carrier without a big international partner is clearly in a position to dictate terms to the likes of Deutsche Bundespost Telekom, France Telecom, Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp and Stet SpA and the Wall Street Journal reports that it is doing just this, discussing the possibility […]
Sprint Corp, as the one remaining major US long-distance carrier without a big international partner is clearly in a position to dictate terms to the likes of Deutsche Bundespost Telekom, France Telecom, Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp and Stet SpA and the Wall Street Journal reports that it is doing just this, discussing the possibility of one or more such players buying a stake in it to seal a global alliance. The paper says Sprint has been talking for several months with the French, German and Japanese phone companies: in response to the report, Deutsche Bundespost Telekom declined to comment on whether it was in talks with Sprint, saying We are negotiating with many companies, but these talks have not been concluded yet. Nippon Telegraph & Telephone also declined comment, saying NTT has been studying multimedia and other businesses with some companies but we have not decided if we will work on some projects with other companies, apart from the tie-ups we have already officially announced: we cannot say with which companies we are studying. Marie-Monique Steckel, the president of France Telecom’s North American unit, confirmed to the Journal that talks had taken place, but would not provide details. Italian telecommunications major Stet SpA said it had ended talks on a possible global alliance with Sprint, but has now made contact with other firms in the field. For some months talks between ourselves and Sprint have been broken off, but others have started up on a broader basis with other major international companies, it said. Financial daily Il Sole-24 Ore reported that Stet is discussing a possible further alliance with AT&T Co, which would presumably involve it joining AT&T’s WorldSource alliance, which has several members in the Far East, but which does not yet have any partners in Europe.
But it is said to be in final negotiations with Unisource BV, the European consortium owned by the telephone operating companies in Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands. The Journal points out that any alliance could stymie any combination with Electronic Data Systems Corp, because France Telecom and Bundespost Telekom are building a facilities management and systems integration business under the Eunetcom banner, which is intended to be a direct competitor for Electronic Data Systems. Some industry executives, however, told the Journal that the General Motors Corp subsidiary has been made aware of Sprint’s overseas efforts and apparently hasn’t raised any objections. Sprint declined to comment on its talks with foreign carriers or on the progress of its talks with Electronic Data Systems, and that company declined comment either. It is not clear whether talks involve France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom buying separate stakes in Sprint or coming in together.