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Vodafone completes tower merger with TIM’s INWIT


TIM Group, Vodafone and INWIT have completed the merger of Vodafone Italy’s towers into INWIT.

The deal was cleared earlier this month by the European Commission.

“INWIT is now Italy’s largest tower operator and will focus on maximising tower utilisation whilst also supporting the deployment of

TIM and Vodafone Italy’s respective 5G networks,” a statement from TIM said.

The combination makes INWIT, which was set up in 2015, Europe’s second-largest listed tower company with over 22,000 towers.

After talks with the Commission, Vodafone and TIM committed to support access to INWIT’s passive infrastructure by all market participants – previously Iliad had asked the Italian regulator, Arcom, to look into the proposed tower deal between INWIT and Vodafone.

Active sharing

As per the announcement in early March, INWIT will make space available to third parties on 4,000 of its towers in urban areas while supporting existing tenancies. Vodafone and TIM will share active network equipment outside of major cities, allowing faster deployment of 5G over a wider geographic area, at a lower cost, and with a lower environmental impact.

The active-sharing partnership will exclude municipalities with populations of over 100,000 inhabitants, as well as their more densely populated suburbs.

The merger will be effective as of 31 March 2020, as will TIM and Vodafone’s service contracts and active 5G-sharing agreements.

After the merger, TIM and Vodafone will each retain a 37.5% stake in INWIT. Vodafone and TIM intend to retain joint control, but over time will consider jointly reducing their respective ownership levels to a minimum of 25.0%.