Internal jockeying has left Italy struggling with itself while other countries move ahead with 5G plans, according to European market analysts. That may soon end if state-controlled Enel and private utility Telecom Italia (TIM) are compelled by the government to join forces, reports Nasdaq.com. According to a source cited by Reuters, Roberto Gualtieri, Italy’s Minister of Economy, plans to meet with Enel executive Francesco Starace later this week with the intention of signing a memorandum of understanding to move forward together.
Enel owns Open-Fiber, a wholesale operator, that would join forces with TIM, putting an end to the infighting and allowing Italy to move forward with broadband outreach. Disputes over governance and regulation have contributed to the current stalemate.
The forced merger could also represent an opportunity for U.S. private equity fund KKR, Nasdaq reported. KKR has been in talks with TIM regarding sales of fiber network and copper to create last mile link ups to individual homes. Australian firm Macquarie has irons in the fire too, and has offered to purchase half of Enel’s Open-Fiber subsidiary. Speculation from the unnamed source suggests the CDP would benefit from creating an interest in the secondary network, but only if Enel can make certain guarantees about its stake in the broadband project.
A meeting between the parties could take place as early as this Friday.