Telecom Italia sells Brazilian towers, mulls tie-up with Oi

Brazilian flag

Telecom Italia has announced the sale of its Brazilian towers to American Tower Corp for approximately €900 million, the price tag it set out to achieve in the first place. The telco also confirmed it is weighing up its options overall in the Brazilian market, and that it is considering a tie-up of its subsidiary Tim Participações with local competitor Oi.

The operator said it is waiting to hear from its committee of independent directors before any further action on the Tim – Oi matter. Further, the telco has also made an official request to Italian infrastructure fund F2i to begin talks about the possible acquisition of the broadband provider Metroweb “as soon as possible,” as the operator put it.

“Telecom Italia identifies Metroweb as the partner with which it could quickly create the development plan for the new generation network infrastructure (NGN) in optic fibre at national level,” the company said in a statement.

“Collaboration between the two companies would represent an important element to speed up the technological development of the ultra-broadband network, through the creation of FTTH and FTTB infrastructure in the principal Italian cities in order to: satisfy prospective demand for ultra-broadband services; promote demand with a proactive approach, making available a network infrastructure that is adequate for the offer of increasingly innovative services to the country; contribute to achieve the objectives set out in the Digital Agenda, in particular on the spread of services with speeds of over 100 Mbit/s.”

At the end of last year, Telecom Italia set out a plan to cut back on its debt, currently hovering somewhere around €27 billion. As part of the measures to achieve this, it announced last month the planned sale of its Argentinian business to New York investment firm Fintech, pending regulatory approvals.

The Italian incumbent has been umming and ahhing about merging Tim with Oi for some time now, and there has been speculation it needs to act if it wants to protect its position in the South American market. This is especially the after the telco lost out on a bid to arch rival Telefónica over Brazilian operator GVT in September.  Telecom Italia has however said its position in Brazil as a standalone is secure for another five years.

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