France Telecom profit falls 35 percent

France Telecom, arguably the most aggressive telco in the world when it comes to seizing new service opportunities and business models, saw its full-year 2008 profit slide about 35 percent to $5.1 billion, while sales increased by just 1 percent to about $67 billion. The French incumbent, which has enjoyed a period of TV and broadband success, and international expansion, blamed higher taxes, exchange rates and a writedown of its 20 percent stake in Portugal's Sonaecom, among other factors, for the profit drop.

The Wall Street Journal also reports that France Telecom, which has become the world's most successful telco TV operator with more than 2.1 million customers, is facing regulatory and competitive pressure on its ability to pursue exclusive content distribution rights and exclusive sales rights to devices such as the iPhone (France Telecom's attempt at an exclusive iPhone deal was stymied by regulators).

France Telecom has long been the model for what international telcos could be capable of, but the coming quarters will be closely watched for ongoing weakness.

For more:
- The Wall Street Journal has this report

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