March 6, 2020 / 5:01 PM / 23 days ago

Vodafone, TIM win conditional EU approval for tower deal

FILE PHOTO: Telecom Italia new logo is seen at the headquarter in Rozzano neighbourhood of Milan, Italy, May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Vodafone and Telecom Italia (TIM) on Friday secured conditional EU antitrust approval to create Europe’s biggest mobile towers company, part of a strategy to roll out lucrative 5G services.

The European Commission said Vodafone and Tim will make available to rivals 4,000 towers in cities with more than 35,000 people as part of concessions to address competition concerns, confirming a Reuters report on Thursday.

Under the deal announced in July last year, Vodafone will transfer its Italian mobile masts to INWIT, which is 60% owned by TIM.

The Commission, the bloc’s executive, said the companies also offered to scale back their active network sharing deal after an initial probe.

The telecoms industry sees deals such as combining towers or sharing networks as a way to reduce debt and share costs, as well as a way of getting around EU antitrust regulators’ reluctance to clear mergers that reduce the number of players in a market.

Reporting by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine, Editing by Foo Yun Chee

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