Italy's Wind calls for mobile network sharing

Reuters

Italy's third-largest mobile phone company Wind (Rome, Italy) called for peers to share their frequencies and antennas to help roll out a superfast network.

"I believe there is awareness among all mobile operators that there is the need to place, into a specifically created company, frequencies and networks," Wind Chief Executive Maximo Ibarra said on the sidelines of an event in Capri on Friday.

"Competition will be on services," he said.

Elsewhere in Europe, mobile operators have already inked or are negotiating network-sharing deals as they aim to save costs and boost coverage at a time of economic downturn.

In June, Vodafone (Newbury, UK) and O2, owned by Telefonica (Madrid) of Spain, agreed to form a joint venture in Britain to pool infrastructure and cut costs of building a new superfast service.

Ibarra also said plans by Telecom Italia (Rome, Italy) to separate its fixed network into a new company should be open to the state, broadband infrastructure company Metroweb (Milan, Italy) and alternative carriers to join.

Telecom Italia, Italy's biggest telecoms company, is in talks with state-backed financing body Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) to spin off its valuable landline infrastructure and boost broadband investment in Italy.

The CDP is expected to take a minority stake in the project.

Telecom Italia Chairman Franco Bernabe has said the company will take a decision on whether to go ahead with the spin-off by the end of the year.

At the event on Friday, an executive of telecommunications company Fastweb, a unit of Swisscom (Worblaufen, Switzerland), said it was not interested in joining Telecom Italia's project.

(Reporting by Alberto Sisto; Editing by David Holmes)

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