TI open to broadband collective, but not spin off

12 Oct 2009

Telecom Italia (TI) has revealed that it is willing to discuss with rival operators the possibility of collaboration to build up new broadband infrastructure, but reiterated that a spin off of its fixed line assets into a separate company is not an option, Dow Jones Newswires reports. Chief executive of rival Vodafone Italia, Paolo Bertoluzzo, said on Friday that the best way to boost broadband development in the country would be the creation of a new company focused on building up a nationwide next generation network (NGN), with investments from of all the main telecoms operators. The idea has also received the consent of operators Fastweb and Wind, while regulator Autorita per le Garanzie Comunicazioni (Agcom) has confirmed that it would support a new venture in charge of building broadband infrastructure, based on a consortium of telecoms operator, private and public investors. However, the new venture would not benefit from taking on TI’s existing networks, as company chief executive Franco Bernabe said: ‘A spinoff is an option that has been shelved and it is not on the table right now.’

Meanwhile Reuters reports that members of the Telco consortium, which holds a 24.5% stake in TI, are discussing plans to renew their pact for one year when it runs out in April 2010, rather than the previously mooted three-year extension. The shareholders are due to meet on 28 October to discuss the holding group’s future as a TI shareholder, with local news sources speculating that Telefonica may withdraw from the group, to take on its estimated 10.4% equity share as a direct stake.