Last Thursday, Vodafone, through its subsidiary Vodafone Italia, and Telecom Italia said that they are planning to enter into a new infrastructure sharing partnership to speed up the deployment of fifth-generation mobile phone services at a lower cost and over a wider geographic area by installing active equipment across the country, particularly larger cities.
In addition, they are also planning to evaluate the possibility of combining their 22,000 telecom towers in Italy into a single entity. It will potentially merge the tower infrastructure of Vodafone with that of INWIT, the masts group that is 60-percent owned by Telecom Italia. They will also upgrade their mobile transmission networks by adding higher capacity optical fibre cables.
In a joint statement, Telecom Italia (TIM) and Vodafone said that the combination would be structured in a way to be value accretive to all of the parties involved.
The potential combination would leave both of the parties with equal shareholdings and governance rights in INWIT. It will also ensure that there is no obligation for either of the parties to launch a tender offer for the remaining shares of INWIT.
The two firms have entered into a memorandum of understanding. Both have also entered into an exclusivity agreement. They are aiming to conclude one or more of the planned initiatives in the course of the current year.
The chief executive officer of Vodafone Italia, Aldo Bisio, stated: “This partnership will allow us to generate significant benefits for our customers and other stakeholders, who will be able to enjoy the best 5G experience, made available in a shorter period of time and across a wider geographical area. 5G represents a technological breakthrough that will have a profound impact on society, and that requires investment, efficiency and a rapid rollout.”
All of the agreements and initiatives are subject to the approval of regulators, and both companies expect to conclude one or more of the agreements during 2019.