06 December 2017
| Alan Burkitt-Gray
Network separation is back on the agenda at TIM, more than four years after former CEO Franco Bernabè resigned because the board rejected his proposals.
Bernabè came back on to the TIM board this year,
nominated by largest shareholder Vivendi, and the company is
now looking at the plan again.
In a statement following the latest board meeting the company
said that CEO Amos Genish was looking at "different separation
One possible model would see the creation of an open-access
wholesale operator that could be used by a number of rival
service providers in the Italian market. However, TIM has not
yet specified which models Genish favours.
Genish, former chief convergence officer of Vivendi, has
compared the models with other international cases, the company
said, without going into details. "Over the coming months, the
management will continue to examine various hypotheses to
establish whether network separation is needed to address
institutions’ input and to unlock value."
Back in 2012-13 Telecom Italia, as it then was, looked at
various proposals, including one to raise €4 billion
by selling off its access network, and another to look at
network integration with Tre Italia – Three Italy –
But the board at the time ultimately rejected the network separation idea and
Bernabè resigned as CEO, and also as chairman of the
Now, says TIM, Genish has presented it with "an overview of the
regulatory framework, taking into account the views of
government officials and industry authorities".
This is part of its work on the 2018-2020 strategic plan,
which, says TIM, "will focus on a value driven strategy to
maximise convergence and scalable bundles, leveraging its
extensive ultra-broadband fixed fibre and LTE networks; it will
be based on greater and improved use of data analytics and
digitalisation, which will contribute to greater efficiency,
allowing a better quality of service to customers and produce
higher profitability and cash flow generation."
Four-to-five years ago Telecom Italia had a number of models of
network separation to compare. One was BT’s
creation of Openreach as a last-mile division to give equal
access to competitors. Since then, under regulatory pressure,
Openreach has become a separate subsidiary of the BT
The other prominent model was Telecom New
Zealand’s division into two separately quoted
companies. One, Chorus, took over the fixed network. The other,
now called Spark, runs services in competition with other