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INWIT TIM and Vodafone gain conditional European Commission approval for mobile tower agreement

INWIT is a 60%-owned subsidiary of Telecom Italia, Italy’s main telecoms company. In July 2019 it announced its intention to take over 11,000 towers owned by Vodafone, making it the second-largest independent operator in Europe, with a total of more than 22,000 towers. On Friday 6 March, the European Commission gave conditional clearance on the merger.

Oxera Partner Dr Barbara Veronese provided expert advice to INWIT in the antitrust assessment of network passive sharing and the impact of combining the towers of Vodafone and Telecom Italia in the context of the merger. Our analysis considered the development of the market and the various scenarios for network roll-out in Italy. We examined a range of possible ex ante antitrust concerns, and how to mitigate those concerns with measures that would expedite the merger review process.

The transaction changes the communications infrastructure landscape in Italy and provides the foundations for a more efficient 5G roll-out and digital transformation of the Italian economy. INWIT will allow operators to share part of the access network, which will bring enhanced coverage and better efficiency in terms of timescales and development costs. The agreement will also help to significantly reduce the technological gap between the country’s large urban centres and rural areas.

Oxera was pleased to work closely with Davide Cacchioli and Alessandro Bardanzellu of the antitrust practice of Pedersoli Studio Legale alongside INWIT and would like to congratulate them on the outcome.

Contact: Dr Barbara Veronese