Two groups representing dozens of French and German telecommunications service providers announced they were joining forces to fight Europe's former phone monopolies. The French association AOST and its German counterpart VATM said their immediate targets were France Telecom and Germany's Deutsche Telekom, but they hoped to form the nucleus of a pan-European group promoting telecoms competition. VATM President Hans-Peter Kohlhammer, an executive at Esprit Telecom, told a news conference the two groups had agreed at a meeting in Brussels to exchange information regularly to help each other open up their national markets. He said the groups faced similar problems in the wake of a European Union telecoms liberalisation plan that took effect on January 1, namely efforts by the big incumbents to defend the positions they won during the monopoly"The single service providers of yesteryear, France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom, resemble each other in their manner of reacting to the new situation, as well as in their behaviour with respect to competitors", the groups said in a statement. Kohlhammer said the two associations would consider setting up joint working groups and submitting joint position papers to the...

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