Telecom Italia (TIM) and Vodafone Italy have signed an agreement to combine their respective mobile tower networks within TIM’s INWIT tower division. Both firms will hold 37.5% stakes in the enlarged INWIT, which will control more than 22,000 tower sites. Following on from their signing of a 5G infrastructure partnership in February this year, TIM and Vodafone plan to expand their passive network sharing arrangement and also share active 4G networks. Both companies say the arrangement will help them cut debt, with TIM expecting a benefit of up to EUR1.4 billion (USD1.56 billion) over time.
Luigi Gubitosi, CEO of TIM, said: ‘Completion of this transaction is key for the country’s infrastructure and technological development and will enable us to further accelerate the deployment of 5G, with Italy already among the countries taking a lead in trials of this new technology.’ Meanwhile, Aldo Bisio, CEO of Vodafone Italia, commented: ‘This agreement will enable us to step up the rollout of 5G for the benefit of our customers and the community as a whole … Network sharing reaps the benefits of 5G and at the same time reduces the impact on the environment and lowers rollout costs, allowing more investment in services for customers.’