What’s up with... TIM, Iliad, Oi, Parallel Wireless, SK Telecom

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

Apr 14, 2022

  • TIM (Telecom Italia) sells stake in towers firm INWIT
  • Iliad reportedly fancies a piece of TIM
  • Oi’s mobile assets in Brazil about to change hands
  • Parallel Wireless sets up Open RAN trial with four Brazilian operators
  • SK Telecom invests in metaverse partner

It’s Telecom Italia day, it seems, as the Italian national operator is embroiled in all sorts of deals, changes and speculation, though there’s also some Open RAN and mobile M&A activity in Brazil and a metaverse-related investment for SK Telecom in South Korea.

In what is just the latest European telecom towers M&A deal of 2022, TIM (Telecom Italia) has agreed to sell a 41% stake in holding company Daphne 3 to a consortium of investors led by Ardian. Once the deal is finalized, the consortium will own a 90% stake in Daphne 3, which in turn holds a 30.2% stake in INWIT (Infrastrutture Wireless Italiane), the Italian towers company with about 22,000 tower sites across the country (Vodafone-woned Vantage Towers holds a 33.2% stake, Canson Capital Partners a 3% stake and 33.6% is in free float). TIM will bank about €1.3 billion from the sale. For further details, see this announcement.  

And just as TIM agrees to offload an asset, so others are interested in parts of its core business... Following news late last month that CVC Capital has expressed an interest in investing in the enterprise unit of Telecom Italia, if the national operator successfully executes its plan to split into a ServCo and NetCo as part of a new ‘industrial strategy,’ Reuters has reported that disruptive service provider Iliad fancies a slice of the consumer services unit that would be created as part of ServCo. According to the news agency, Iliad contacted TIM’s largest shareholder, fellow French company Vivendi, to express its interest. Iliad is keen to grow its influence in the European telecoms services sector: It already has a thriving mobile services business in Italy, having signed up more than 8.5 million customers in less than four years since its entry into the market, and recently started selling low-cost fibre broadband services. And just two months ago, Iliad and Apax Partners made an audacious €11.25 billion bid to acquire Vodafone Italy, an offer that was immediately rejected (and then never bettered), so Iliad is clearly very keen to accelerate its growth in the Italian market. It’s been busy elsewhere too: Iliad’s Polish subsidiary, Play, has just completed the €1.5 billion takeover of cable operator UPC Polska

Meanwhile... TIM’s critical Brazilian subsidiary, along with VIVO (Telefônica Brasil) and Claro, have received the final clearance needed to close the €2.6 billion joint acquisition of Oi Group’s mobile business in Brazil, a deal that was born in 2020. The transaction is set to be completed on 20 April.

And we’re not done yet! TIM and its cybersecurity unit Telsy have launched a new ‘made in Italy’ antivirus system for enterprise and government users: The “Endpoint Protection system provides anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-spyware and anti-ransomware features,” notes the operator in this announcement. And with Pietro Labriola confirmed as the new CEO, TIM is busy shaking up its senior executive team, with Roberto Mazzilli appointed as Chief IT Corporate & Market Systems Office, and Executive VP Alessandro Picardi leaving the management team to become Chairman of TIM subsidiary Olivetti.

Parallel Wireless has teamed up with R&D lab Inatel, the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), and four operators – BrisanetClaroTIM (yes, again!) and Vivo – to conduct a field trial of an Open RAN network “enabling All Gs (2G, 3G, 4G and 5G).” Russell Ribeiro, Regional VP LATAM Sales at Parallel Wireless, stated: “We are excited to partner with Inatel and TIP to showcase our leading-edge cloud-native, O-RAN compliant, Open RAN solutions enabling 4G and 5G broadband connectivity, providing leading edge applications for the citizens of Brazil and other LATAM countries. We are starting this Open Field program with 4G and will evolve to 5G later this year.” Dell (servers) and Comba Telecom (radio units) are also involved in the trials. Read more

SK Telecom has struck a “strategic cooperation and equity investment contract” with Morph Interactive, a 3D graphics platform developer “with core metaverse-related technologies” to help speed up the development of key new features for its Ifland metaverse platform, for which Morph Interactive has been a key partner since its inception. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

The fate of beleaguered French IoT service provider Sigfox, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January, is getting political... A prospective buyer has published an open letter to French President Emmanuel Macron in which he claims to have submitted an acquisition offer that ticks all the required boxes, but which has been dismissed without explanation for what he believes are “specific issues linked to the political context” (as translated from the original French). “The fate of Sigfox is in your hands,” adds Henri Bong, co-CEO and co-founder at UnaBiz, in this LinkedIn post

- The staff, TelecomTV

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