Telecompaper reports that Telecom Italia’s German subsidiary Hansenet has transferred a portion of its 2.36 million-strong DSL customer base from the Telefonica O2 Germany network to that of incumbent Deutsche Telekom (DT), according to the Financial Times Deutschland. The transfer concerns mostly former AOL Germany customers, which were connected via Telefonica O2. This move does not appear to bode well for the alliance between Telecom Italia (TI) and Telefonica; Telefonica is a large shareholder in TI, albeit indirectly, owning 42.3% of the holding company Telco which owns 23.59% of the Italian incumbent. In Germany, Hansenet and Telefonica O2 have cooperated on some investments, and Hansenet offers mobile services via O2 Germany’s network, while also using Telefonica Deutschland’s unbundled DSL network to connect customers in some areas.
Telefonica O2 Germany’s official line is that the move will have no effect on the other cooperation agreements between the two companies, a comment echoed by Hansenet. However, sources within both companies say that TI’s head office in Italy was aware of Hansenet’s move, but did not want to interfere even after protests from Telefonica’s head office in Spain.