Rome stops short of asking for separation of telecoms incumbent’s network assets

The Italian government on Monday confirmed that it will exercise its so-called golden power on TIM, imposing a number of conditions on the telco that it says will enable it to protect strategic national assets.

Rome is keen to protect TIM from external influences, specifically French media company Vivendi, which was recently ruled to have de facto control over the telco.

It issued a statement outlining in general terms its requirements for the telecoms incumbent, some of which relate to the stability and security of its network and services that support "strategic" and "key strategic’ activities, it said. Others are designed to support the continuity of operations related to national defence and security.

There has been much talk in Italy in recent months of the state seeking to force a spin off or sale of the TIM network, but the government has stopped short of making such a request.

However, it said it has set out specific requirements for international wholesale arm Telecom Italia Sparkle and ICT business Telsy, although it did not provide further details.

The government’s intervention includes allocating "human, financial and instrumental resources" to ensure the independence of any business activities relating to national security.

And it requires a government-backed board member to protect its interests when it comes to defence and national security, it said.

"Finally, the decree provides for a series of monitoring and control measures to ensure compliance with the requirements and conditions imposed," Rome said.