Italy's new rules on 5G deals risk delays, industry lobby warns

MILAN, April 11 (Reuters) - New rules to oversee the build-up of fifth generation mobile networks in Italy risk creating red tape delays for telecoms firms as they strive to upgrade their grids, a document from the country's industry lobby showed on Monday.

Rome, in beefing up its "golden powers", last month approved a decree which requires telecoms firms to provide on an annual basis detailed notifications of their development plans for 5G infrastructure.

Under the new rules, Rome is requesting telecoms firms to include in their annual plans specific details of any equipment to be used in the build-up of 5G networks, regardless of its origin and before closing a purchase deal.

Companies would hardly be able to address any government requests to clarify specific technical aspects in the programming phase of purchases, industry lobby Asstel said in a document seen by Reuters.

"Any suspension of the review of the annual plan, linked to a lack of information not available to companies when they compiled it, would create a deadlock situation, with a significant extension of the approval timeframe," Asstel said.

Italy has been closely monitoring telecoms firms' purchases of goods and services related to 5G technology since 2019, when it introduced an obligation for contracts involving non-EU vendors to be notified.

Such legislation was mostly aimed at limiting the usage of equipment from Chinese vendors amid security concerns, without issuing an outright ban.

Reporting by Elvira Pollina, editing by Ed Osmond

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