France's Biggest Telcos Gang Up On PayPal


Doomed or not? Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom, France‘s three biggest telcos (50 million subscribers out of a country of 65 million) are teaming up on a joint venture called Buyster for online and mobile payments, competing with PayPal. The company will also have the backing of big IT consulting company Atos Origin. (Via FrenchWeb, in French.)

We want to say the effort is doomed: a joint venture between three telcos and an IT consulting firm to take on a web company with network effects is like a caricature of a stillborn white elephant.

But it’s easy to underestimate the market power that these three companies have, at least in France, and if the service comes by default on everyone’s phone it could get traction. And they have some impressive launch partners like Rue du Commerce, one of the biggest e-commerce sites in France.

So who knows? We give it a 20% chance of not being an abject failure.

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