Telecom Italia and Vodafone sign deal to merge towers in Italy by the end of the summer

FILE PHOTO: Different types of 4G, 5G and data radio relay antennas for mobile phone networks are depicted in a relay mast operated by Vodafone in Berlin, Germany, April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) – A deal to merge Vodafone’s tower infrastructure in Italy in INWIT, the mast group, 60 percent owned by Telecom Italia (TIM), be signed by the summer, INWIT, the Chief Executive Giovanni Ferigo said on Wednesday.

The deal is part of a three-year strategy plan ironed out earlier this year by TIM CEO Luigi Gubitosi aimed at reviving Italy’s largest phone group, which is saddled with more than 25 billion euros ($28.34 billion) of debt.

TIM and Vodafone entered into an exclusive agreement in February to be evaluated by a combination of 22,000 telecom towers in Italy into a single entity.

The deal also includes a partnership to enable faster deployment of the fifth-generation mobile telephony over a larger geographical area and at a lower cost.

“A signing is expected in the summer,” Ferigo said an analyst call after INWIT the first quarter of financial results.

The combination of the Vodafone towers in INWIT would leave TIM and Vodafone, with equal shareholding and the directors of the rights in INWIT and make sure that there is no obligation to launch a takeover bid for INWIT remaining shares.

Reporting by Elvira Pollina; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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