San Marino set to be first 5G country as Telecom Italia soap opera continues

Italian mini-state San Marino is set to become the first ‘country’ to go 5G, with Telecom Italia using it as a testing ground for the next generation of wireless tech.

According to a report in the FT Telecom Italia signed a good old MoU with San Marino to use it as a 5G guinea pig. The self-contained nature of the state is expected to provide the good environment for a 5G dress rehearsal as early as next year. Apparently San Marino also has fewer restrictions on the use of radio frequency than the rest of Italy.

Meanwhile countless anonymous press briefings indicate an ongoing battle of will between TIM CEO Flavio Catteneo and corporate predator Vivendi. It looks like Vivendi’s control-freakery over the Italian operator is set to go a step further yet.

A week ago we reported on rumours that Catteneo was sick of being told what to do by TIM’s largest shareholder Vivendi, which has been trying to take control of the company without the hassle and expense of actually buying it for ages, and wanted to split. While that has yet to happen, the volume and nature of leaks to the press in the intervening seven days indicate that process is still underway.

Bloomberg started the week with a leak indicating that if Catteneo didn’t get back in his box and be a good puppet CEO, Vivendi would replace him with its own people. Reuters then took the baton to firstly corroborate the Bloomberg story, then to say nothing had been resolved by the end of the week, only to subsequently report that Catteneo had backed down. However Bloomberg then insisted he is still leaving and the only reason that hasn’t happened already is that he wants €50 million to go quietly.

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