November 14, 2017 / 7:09 AM / a month ago

Telecom Italia not interested in any network merger - CEO to papers

MILAN, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Telecom Italia is open to commercial agreements with broadband rival Open Fiber but is not interested in the idea of merging their networks, the group’s CEO told a series of Italian newspapers.

“Italy is big enough to have two competing networks,” Amos Genish was quoted as saying by Il Sole 24 Ore on Tuesday.

Open Fiber, controlled by utility Enel and state lender CDP, is currently rolling out an ultrafast broadband network to compete with Telecom Italia (TIM).

The CEO told several Italian papers TIM wanted to keep control of the group’s backbone telecoms network but added that did not mean necessarily keeping 100 percent.

He said there was no need to keep full ownership of submarine cable unit Sparkle, either.

“No financial operation” is planned for TIM’s fixed-line network, he was quoted as saying by Il Sole 24 Ore.

Genish also said it was “insulting” to think TIM could be used as a way of repairing relations between Vivendi and Italian broadcaster Mediaset

“Noone has asked me,” Il Sole 24 Ore cited him as saying.

Vivendi, the biggest single shareholder in Telecom Italia with a 24 percent stake, holds 28.8 percent of Mediaset. The two groups have fallen out over a failed deal to buy Mediaset’s pay TV unit Premium.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes

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