INWIT, the mobile tower company controlled by Telecom Italia (TIM), expects its merger with the Italian tower division of Vodafone to be completed in the first half of next year. Last week TIM and Vodafone postponed the deadline for receiving EU approval for the deal by one month, to 30 November. A report from Reuters cites INWIT CEO Giovanni Ferigo as saying: ‘We’re engaged in very constructive talks with the European antitrust [bodies]. I see no reason to change expectations for closing in the first half of 2020.’
In February this year TIM and Vodafone signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to create an active 5G network sharing project and examine a possible move to share 4G infrastructure and combine their respective mobile tower networks. The two firms said the deal would support a faster deployment of 5G over a wider geographic area, at a lower cost. In July TIM and Vodafone confirmed that the active network sharing programme would be extended to cover 4G networks. Vodafone will merge its tower infrastructure into INWIT, giving the enlarged entity more than 22,000 sites under its control and providing nationwide coverage. TIM has said it is expecting a benefit of up to EUR1.4 billion over time.