TIM tells Italian regulator it’s started work on network separation

28 March 2018 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


The former Telecom Italia has officially started work on separating out its wholesale access network into a new legal entity.

The company – now called TIM – has officially notified the Italian telecoms regulator, Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (AGCom), that the process has begun.

The notification is “the official start of the formal procedure, pursuant to Article 50-ter of the Electronic Communications Code, which will see TIM voluntarily separate its access network through the creation of a separate legal entity”, said TIM.

The new company – which it is calling NetCo – will own the access network infrastructure, from the exchange to customers’ homes, as well as buildings, electronic equipment and IT systems, and it will employ the people necessary to provide wholesale services independently. It will not include Sparkle, the international wholesale division. 

Meanwhile TIM appears to have made a miscalculation over the NetCom name. There is already an Italian company called Netco – based in Milan, an hour’s drive from TIM’s main office in the city. It specialises in dust extraction systems for factories.

TIM says its new NetCo company “will guarantee full equality of treatment , thanks to a single access point”. There will be a one-stop shop for regulated and unregulated wholesale services for all operators, including TIM, it added.

However the new company, modelled in some ways on the UK’s Openreach, will be 100% owned by TIM – just as Openreach is 100% owned by BT. That will almost certainly cause concern to TIM’s rivals in the Italian market – just as Openreach’s ownership has given concern to BT’s rivals in the UK, in particular Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone.

Meanwhile TIM’s statutory auditors say they have accepted the motion put forward by activist investor Elliott International. That means the shareholders’ meeting on 4 May will consider Elliott’s slate of proposed new directors, with whom it wants to replace the directors backed by Vivendi, the biggest shareholder in TIM.