07 March 2018
| Alan Burkitt-Gray
The board of directors of TIM – formerly Telecom Italia – has approved a plan to create a separate legal entity that will own its fixed network.
The new wholesale company, which will be 100% owned by TIM,
will own the access network from the exchange up to
customers’ homes and all the infrastructure,
including buildings, electronic equipment and IT systems.
This Openreach-like structure will be the single interface for
fixed access services to all operators, including TIM, said the
company last night.
The Italian government has not reacted to the proposals as
parties are still in discussions following
Sunday’s inconclusive elections. The previous
government opposed the control of critical national
infrastructure, including TIM’s national and local
networks and Sparkle’s international networks, by
Vivendi, a French company.
Separation of TIM into an infrastructure company and a separate
services company might go some way to answer some of these
concerns – except that TIM is proposing that it will
own 100% of its so-called Netco, which ultimately means it is
still controlled by Vivendi, the biggest shareholder in
The board has given TIM’s CEO, Amos Genish, the
power to start the formal procedure to notify
Italy’s telecoms regulator, Agcom, of its "request
for a voluntary separation of its fixed access network", it
TIM said: "The project represents a turning point and
establishes the most advanced network separation model in
Europe, by creating a 'one-stop-shop’ access point
for regulated and unregulated wholesale services for all
operators including TIM, delivering a fully neutral and
TIM added: "The Netco will have the investment capabilities to
maintain the highest quality network and help Italy meet the
European 2025 Digital Agenda ultra-broadband goals. The
initiative will contribute significantly to further develop the
digitalisation of the country, supporting the evolution of the
current regulatory framework."
At the same board meeting, the company’s directors
approved a strategic plan for 2018-20, which it calls DigiTIM.
It is aimed at improving customer engagement, capturing new
growth opportunities, accelerating cash flow generation and
increasing shareholder return; and implementing a new agile
organisation and a "performance-based and data driven
The programme will see a 30% increase in Sparkle’s
transformation capex, and a 25 new IP points of presence.
"Sparkle will pursue international expansion a data
opportunities," said the board after its meeting.
The company plans to increase its ICT and cloud business by
50%, "reaching 25% of business segment total revenue by 2020",
and it plans to triple the fibre customer base to more than 1
"Wholesale will return to growth," said the board, while ultra
broadband lines with other operators "will grow from about 1
million to about 3 million".