Sparkle revenues fall and TIM talks to Open Fiber about collaboration

09 November 2018 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


Sparkle’s revenues fell by 7.6% in the first three quarters of the year, according to today’s results from TIM.

The international wholesale unit of the former Telecom Italia earned €919 million in revenue in January-September, €76 million down on the same period of 2017.

“This result was primarily due to the expiry of long term contracts for the Mediterranean basin and the fall in the value of the dollar against the euro, which had an appreciable impact on IP/data and voice services revenues,” said the official statement.

But Amos Genish, CEO of TIM, did not receive any questions about the future of Sparkle in his Friday conference call about the results: all questions were from investors and analysts and Capacity was unable to put its own questions to Genish or to the CFO, Piergiorgio Peluso.

Last week Capacity reported that TIM had called in the Rothschild investment bank to advise on the future of Sparkle.

Genish did comment on yesterday’s brief halt in trading in TIM’s shares on reports that TIM was talking to rival carrier Open Fiber about renting capacity from the wholesale-only fibre company.

“We are open to cooperate with Open Fiber,” said Genish. “Cooperation is positive to all parties involved. This could be a positive development if and when it will happen.”

However, Genish said that interest in demerging an infrastructure company – dubbed “Netco” – from TIM was slowing down. “Interest … is more slow than initially expected.”

Italy’s regulator, Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (AGCom), is running a public consultation on a legal separation. “We’re in continuous discussion with AGCom,” said Genish, adding that the regulatory environment “is a challenging one”. He said there were “several decisions” from the regulator “that are not friendly to the sector”.