LEGAL/POLICY

Authorities Expected To Clear Vodafone, TIM Tower Deal

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Reuters tipped European officials to approve a merger of tower assets by Vodafone Italy and Telecom Italia, a move designed to boost deployment of 5G among other benefits.

The European Commission (EC) will make its decision on the merger 6 March.

Reuters explained concessions offered by the operators last month were likely to sway competition authorities to approve the tie-up. The operators offered rivals access to 630 sites for six- to nine-years in cities with populations of more than 35,000.

The operators announced the plan in July 2019, following a broader industry trend to share the burden of network construction and maintenance.

If approved Vodafone Italia will transfer its mobile masts to Inwit, a tower business in which Telecom Italia holds a 60 per cent stake. The operators would take a 37.5 per cent stakes in the infrastructure company, which would become the largest in Italy and second-largest in Europe with control of 22,000 towers.

The agreement would deliver synergeries worth more than €800 million(US$903.20million) for both operators: Vodafone would receive an initial cash injection of €2.1 billion and incremental proceeds of more than €1 billion, with Telecom Italia set to leverage it to cut €1.4 billion in debt over time.

However, the plan faced opposition from Iliad Italia, with CEO Benedetto Levi expressing concerns over the impact on competition.   – Mobile World Live

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