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Friday, 31 May 2013 10:40

Telecom Italia finally starts sell off

Written by Nick Farrell



Italians hope to enter the 20th century

Italian phone subscribers hoped to finally enter the 20th century as the largely useless Telecom Italia took a first step to spin off its domestic fixed-line access network. Telecom Italia is hopelessly under invested in and debt-laden. It needs cash to fund investment in broadband development and give Telecom Italia more commercial flexibility.

Telecom Italia said its board had agreed to put some of its network assets, valued 13-15 billion euros, into a separate company with a view to selling a stake in the new entity to state-backed fund Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP).

"Contacts continue with Cassa Depositi e Prestiti," Telecom Italia said, without giving a timing for the possible deal.

Putting Telecom Italia's fixed-line copper and fibre network into a separate company is to deal with political concerns that the outfit might get tied into Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa. Telecom Italia and CDP talking for months over a possible sale of a minority stake in the future Network Company but these have basically been arguments over which village idiot rules what dung heap and price.

Telecom Italia has consistently failed to get the message about how rubbish it really is and how many Italian subscribers look in envy at the services offered by other EU countries, such as Bulgaria, and wondering why a civilised country like Italy cannot come up with something better.

Nick Farrell

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