The pair will also combine their tower holdings into one entity

Telecom Italia and Vodafone have signed a network sharing agreement for their forthcoming 5G launches in Italy. The two companies will also collaborate to upgrade their respective fibre transmission networks, which take care of mobile backhaul functionality.

TIM and Vodafone are set to combine their respective passive networks within INWIT, creating Italy’s biggest tower company and the second largest in Europe, with more than 22,000 towers.

“Completion of this transaction is key for the country’s infrastructure and technological development and will enable us to further accelerate the deployment of 5G, with Italy already among the countries taking a lead in trials of this new technology. Thanks to what will from today become Italy’s biggest tower company, we will be able to offer households and businesses privileged access to the technological revolution that has just begun. INWIT will in this way support the country’s economic and industrial development, enabling Italy to fully exploit the opportunities offered by the new digital economy,” said Luigi Gubitosi, CEO of TIM.

The news comes as part of a busy week for Vodafoen, which has already announced that its Liberty Global acquisition will go ahead and that it intends to spin off its European towers holding.

"This agreement will enable us to step up the rollout of 5G for the benefit of our customers and the community as a whole. 5G has a key role to play in modernising the country. It will provide the technology platform from which to launch innovative new services capable of making business models more efficient and improving productivity throughout the value chain, helping to build a more competitive digital economy. Network sharing reaps the benefits of 5G and at the same time reduces the impact on the environment and lowers rollout costs, allowing more investment in services for customers," said  Aldo Bisio, CEO of Vodafone Italia.