UPDATE 1-Regulator approves lower access fees at Telecom Italia

Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:30pm EDT

MILAN, July 11 (Reuters) - Italian telecommunications regulator AGCOM on Thursday tentatively approved lower fees for rivals to use Telecom Italia's fixed-line network, sparking criticism from the Italian phone company.

Telecom Italia said the ruling would reduce its revenues by 110 million euros this year.

AGCOM is in talks with Telecom Italia over a plan by the former telecoms monopoly to spin off its fixed-line copper and fibre network.

"The decision will have a material impact on Telecom Italia's accounts ... and the course of the access network spin-off ... which the AGCOM decision puts at great risk," Telecom Italia said.

AGCOM said its ruling will be reviewed by European authorities and it plans to take a final decision well before the end of the year.

Telecom Italia said the decision goes against European rules and that it would appeal "to the proper authorities."

The cut in access fees "would change the value of Telecom's network quite a bit, with direct and indirect repercussions on the spinoff process, because it would make it more difficult to set its future value," said Cristoforo Morandini, partner at Between SpA consultancy.

Telecom Italia has valued its network at 12 billion to 15 billion euros, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.

Earlier this week, AGCOM welcomed Telecom Italia's plan to spin off the phone lines and said the move could earn the company regulatory benefits.

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