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Vodafone, Telecom Italia Open Doors For Site Access

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Vodafone Italy and Telecom Italia offered rivals access to sites in certain cities in an effort to address concerns by European competition authorities over a pending merger of their tower assets, Reuters reported.

The proposal, outlined in an EU document viewed by the news agency, suggested Telecom Italia’s tower unit Inwit will provide access to around 630 sites in cities with a population of more than 35,000 people. The plan would offer competitors access to mobile and fixed-line services, Reuters said.

Terms of the access deals would range from between six years to nine years, with an extension of up to six years possible after initial agreements expire.

However, the number of sites available was set to gradually decline below 400 in the fifth year of the proposal.

Reuters also reported Vodafone and Telecom Italia will grant access to sites on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, and companies will be able to settle disputes through a fast track system.

The European Commission is reportedly calling for feedback from the operators’ competitors and customers before making a decision on the merger.

Vodafone and Telecom Italia agreed the merger in July 2019, a deal which will create the second-largest tower company in Europe with a total of more than 22,000 sites. The transaction involves Vodafone transferring its masts to Inwit, which is currently 60 per cent owned by Telecom Italia.

After the agreement is finalised the pair will jointly control the new Inwit through equal 37.5 per cent stakes.

The deal was met with worries over competition risks, with Iliad Italia CEO Benedetto Levi raising concerns with EU authorities in January.-Mobile World Live

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