BT expands links in Germany

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The Independent Online
BT is negotiating with Mannesmann to secure access to the telephone infrastructure the German industrial giant is constructing as part of its plans to carve out a share of Germany's domestic telecommunications market when it is opened up in 1998.

BT also plans to take a significant slice of the German market through its alliance with the conglomerate Viag, which aims to set up a new mobile phone network.

Mannesmann, through its telecoms joint venture DBKom, is laying cable throughout Germany alongside the railway tracks owned by Deutsche Bahn, which is part of the consortium.

Although DBKom will be acompetitor to the BT-Viag alliance, German telecoms specialists say that it would be prepared to rent space on its new fixed-line network to offset the cost of the multi-billion pound infrastructure investment.

It was a dispute over strategy that prompted RWE, a leading German utility, to leave the BT-Viag alliance last week and join a rival consortium headed by Cable & Wireless and Veba, the German energy group.

RWE quit because it disagreed with the BT-Viag view that extensive infrastructure spending was inefficient and that investment should be aimed instead at developing services and providing a seamless network to link mobile and fixed-line services.

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