Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Hoettges urged the German government to carefully consider the consequences of selling its stake in the operator, while separately talking-up the benefit of a “strong” third player in the US.
In a wide-ranging interview with Welt am Sonntag, Hoettges (pictured) said questions needed to be answered on what would happen to the funds raised by a potential sale of the government’s share of Deutsche Telekom, and the motives of buyers.
Concerns raised by the executive include potential suitors’ commitment to infrastructure security and future investment in services for the whole of Germany.
Ahead of the country’s federal election in September, both the FDP and Green Party said they were in favour of selling the 33 per cent of Deutsche Telekom still owned by the state. The majority was sold-off in a series of IPOs in the late 1990s.
Both parties are reportedly in talks on forming a coalition with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, raising the possibility of a sale.
According to the newspaper, a sale could raise up to €24 billion for the government. The publication speculated the proceeds could be used to accelerate fibre broadband rollout in the country.
During the interview, Hoettges also talked-up the benefit of a “third strong player” in the US market, without commenting directly on the progress of ongoing talks between subsidiary T-Mobile US and rival Sprint.
The two operators are currently jostling for third position in the country behind Verizon and AT&T, but both have significant ground to make up on the market leaders.
A strong third provider able to disrupt the “two very big players” would “certainly do the competition good there,” he added.