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France Telecom buys Spanish cellco

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France Telecom (FT) is shelling out €6.4bn for Spain's third largest mobile phone operator, the telco confirmed today.

Amena has almsot 10 million punters - one in four of all mobile phone users in Spain - and operates in a country where experts predict future growth above the European average.

Once the deal is completed Amena will be bolted on to FT's existing operation in Spain. Wanadoo - FT's ISP - has 1.4 million internet users including 500,000 broadband users.

FT said the deal represented "an acceleration of the implementation of our strategy of an integrated European operator" and put the telco in "a position to offer convergent broadband and mobile services in a key European market with close to 10m additional customers".

FT plans to bolt these operations together to provide a range of mobile, fixed and internet services to punters in Spain. It is also likely that the new operation will also be rebranded under the Orange name as part of FT's New Experience in Telecommunications (NExT) plan announcd last month.

Said chief exec Didier Lombard in a statement: "The merger of France Telecom España and Amena confirms our strategy as an integrated European operator and allows us to accelerate the implementation of the NExT plan." ®

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