The investment will support TIM’s goal of expanding its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network throughout Italy in the coming years
Since its arrival onto the Italian mobile scene around three years ago, France’s Iliad has had a significant impact, with its low prices offering a major challenge to the market’s major operators, TIM, Vodafone, and WindTre. The operator’s market share has been steadily increasing, rising to around 9% earlier this year.
But Iliad’s ambitions do not end with merely shaking up the mobile market. Around a year ago, the company announced it had struck a deal with Open Fiber, set to use the fibre player’s infrastructure to launch a fixed broadband offer to customers across 271 Italian cities.
At the time, little information was given regarding the timeline of the commercial launch, but in March 2021, in a statement accompanying the operator’s full-year results, the company said it was planning to launch its fixed business “by summer 2021”.
When the deal with Open Fiber was first announced, sources were quick to point out that it was not exclusive, and that Iliad could potentially negotiate similar contracts with other operators.
Now, it appears the company has done just that, agreeing to co-invest in TIM’s last mile network, FiberCop.
The financial details of the deal have not been announced, but the move will give Iliad access to TIM’s primary fibre network.
For TIM, the deal will allow them to continue working towards FiberCop’s rollout goals, aiming to pass 75% of Italy’s “grey and black areas” (areas served by only one operator or more than one operator, respectively) with FTTH by 2025.
This is notably TIM’s third deal for wholesale access to its FiberCop network, having already signed similar deals with Fastweb and Tiscali.
Meanwhile, for Iliad, the deal should come as a major boost for its burgeoning fibre business, which it now reportedly plans to launch the end of summer this year.
In related news, Iliad France could soon be delisted, with billionaire owner Xavier Niel seeking to purchase the 29% stake he does not currently own and remove the business from the stock market.
“Iliad is now entering a new phase in its development, requiring rapid changes and major investments which will be easier to undertake as an unlisted company,” he said.
Is Italy accelerating its fixed broadband coverage fast enough to conquer the digital divide? Find out from the experts themselves at this year’s Connected Italy event