Swisscom to sell Metroweb stake as Fastweb moves forward with fibre plan

Swisscom sign ThumbSwisscom has agreed to sell its 10.6% in Italian operator Metroweb to the latter’s main shareholder Metroweb Italia for €80 million.

The company’s shareholder agreement, which gives Swisscom certain minority rights, will be terminated when the transaction closes.

The value of the deal is in line with the valuation placed on Metroweb by Italian utility company Enel, which has agreed to acquire the operator.

Enel plans to use Metroweb to challenge Telecom Italia in the fast broadband segment by building a fibre network across the country. Metroweb operates in Milan.

Metroweb is central to the plans of alternative operators Vodafone and Wind in Italy. The pair plan to use access to the Metroweb network to extend their reach in the Italian fixed broadband market.

Swisscom owns Fastweb, Italy’s other alternative fibre provider, which said it will maintain its own trade relationship to Metroweb after the sale.

Fastweb agreed two weeks ago to team up with Telecom Italia/TIM to build a 1Gbps-capable fibre-to-the-home network through a joint venture, allowing the pair to share the costs of extending fibre to the end user in 29 cities already covered by fibre-to-the-cabinet networks.

The €1.2 billion venture, in which Fastweb will have a 20% stake to TIM’s 80%, aims to connect three million homes by 2020.

Fastweb said the deal would not affect its ambition to reach half of Italian homes with fast internet by 2020, but that the mix of technologies would change. The number of units covered by its FTTH network would increase from two million to five million, while the number of homes connected to FTTC would increase from 5.5 million to eight million.

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