Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mobistar CEO Scheen does not see iPhone deal in near future

BRUSSELS, Feb. 5, 2008 (Thomson Financial delivered by Newstex) -- Mobistar CEO Benoit Scheen said that the company could make a deal in 2008 to offer Apple's iPhone in Belgium, but cast doubt on the timing of such an agreement as Belgium is 'not a priority' for Apple.

'In Europe, the iPhone is only available in four markets', Scheen said, adding that Italy and Poland for example have a far greater growth potential than Belgium.

Japan and Korea are other priorities outside of Europe, Scheen said, 'so it will be many months before we will know more about the Belgian market'.

The new CEO of Belgium's second-largest mobile phone operator said that three important new services launched in 2007 are an indication of the strategy it intends to implement in 2008.

Mobistar is focusing increasingly on the convergence of fixed-line and mobile services and is also in discussion with partners to launch new MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) agreements to offer mobile services on Mobistar's network in Belgium.

'A third of Belgian households no longer has a fixed line, so a large part of the population wants services which are not necessarily linked to a landline,' Scheen said.

'We are responding to that demand', he added.

Mobistar, a member of the Orange group which bundles together France Telecom's (NYSE:FTE) main mobile activities, has no plans to rebrand itself as 'Orange' in the near future, although Scheen conceded that such a move would create value in an international market.

'Never say never,' Scheen told reporters at a press conference.

'Visibility helps, and Orange is a brand with visibility,' he said, but added that the group is not planning to 'go orange'.

Copyright Thomson Financial News Limited 2007. All rights reserved.

The copying, republication or redistribution of Thomson Financial News Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Financial News.

No comments: