Italy’s former state-owned monopoly Telecom Italia (TI) has posted an 81.3% leap in first half net profit for 2005 to EUR1.8 billion, up from EUR979 million twelve months previously. The increase is largely attributable to net gains from asset sales – notably that of Greek mobile operator TIM Hellas but also including Entel Chile and Digitel Venezuela – rather than organic improvement. Sales at its fixed line division rose 2.1% to EUR8.8 billion to remain ahead of the telco’s mobile arm by approximately EUR2.5 billion. However, the gap is narrowing: cellular turnover climbed by more than 10% year-on-year, thanks in particular to a greater than 50% sales boost from overseas wireless subsidiaries. TI’s overall number of mobile subscribers reached 44.3 million, while in terms of broadband customers the telco added more than 600,000 users in the half, taking its total to 5.6 million.