THE ALGERIAN GOVERNMENF PLANS TO privatise Algérie Telecom in the first half of 2008, communications minister Boudjema Haichour has said. But the state would maintain a majority stake in the firm, Haichour stressed. The government is seeking to partner with a foreign company in order to bring more technological added value. Companies interested in the estimated $3 billion deal include Etisalat, France Telecom, Telefonica, Portugal Telecom and Deutsche Telecom. Algérie Telecom operates 3.5million fixed lines, 4million mobile lines and provides Internet service throughout the country. Haichour said the company plans to launch 3G mobile services by June of 2008.