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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 10:09 GMT
Mobile growth for France Telecom
Orange mobile phone user in Singapore
France Telecom has more than 84 million mobile customers
Increased use of mobile phones in emerging markets has boosted sales at France Telecom, owner of Orange.

Poland, Romania and Egypt were among its fastest growing mobile markets in 2005 as it boosted customer numbers by 16% to more than 84 million.

Overall sales were up 2.5% at 49bn euros ($58bn; 33.5bn) while profits rose nearly 3% to 18.4bn euros.

The company plans to reduce its workforce by 17,000 but said this would be achieved through natural wastage.

It is not planning any compulsory redundancies either in France or in overseas markets.

New markets

The company is increasingly relying on emerging markets in Europe and Africa for its mobile phone growth although its domestic business also performed strongly over the past year.

Overall revenues from mobile phone operations rose 7% to 21.9bn euros, with French sales growing nearly 17% to 9.7bn euros.

The number of Orange users in the UK rose 4.5% to 14.9 million but revenues were largely flat, partly due to the reduction of incoming call termination charges in 2004.

By the end of 2005, France Telecom had about 1.5 million broadband wireless users while 830,000 people were using Voice over IP technology (Voip), enabling them to make phone calls over the internet.

After acquiring Spanish mobile operator Amena last year, France Telecom is not planning further European deals.

However, it said it would continue to look to expand in countries with high growth potential.

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