Telecom Italia Considers Spinning Off Network, Bernaba

By Sonia Sirletti – Telecom Italia SpA (TIT) is studying whether to separate its fixed-access network, helping Italy’s biggest phone company raise cash to pay down debt and avoid cutting its dividend further.

A spin-off is “one of several studies” carried out, Executive Chairman Franco Bernabe told Il Sole 24 Ore, in comments confirmed by Telecom Italia. Under the plan, Telecom Italia would be “open to considering” a partnership with state-owned lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti SpA as it builds out a high-speed Internet network, he was quoted as saying. The company would be the first incumbent European operator to spin off its network.

Vodafone Chief Executive Officer Vittorio Colao said in February that the company had offered to co-invest in fixed-line networks, and had been turned down by rival operators. The Italian market had formerly resisted open networks, he said. more>


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