Iliad Group CEO Thomas Reynaud (pictured) reportedly confirmed the operator was in talks with WindTre on a network-sharing deal in Italy which would help reduce the cost of rolling out a 5G mobile network in the country.

Reuters quoted Reynaud as saying Iliad and CK Hutchison-owned WindTre are in the process of finalising a network-sharing agreement involving about 7,000 mobile sites which would cover more than 60 per cent of Italy’s territory.

Reynaud believes the deal “should strengthen our independence in the long term”, Reuters wrote.

The news agency reported last week the groups were in discussions about sharing the cost of 5G deployments in remote areas of Italy.

It was suggested the pair would establish a 50:50 joint venture valued at €600 million to €900 million.

Iliad already has a national roaming agreement with WindTre, but has been engaged in building its own network in Italy since late 2016. It acquired 5G-enabling spectrum in October 2018, and had activated 8,727 and equipped 9,700 mobile sites in Italy by the end of 2021.

The group recently attempted to instigate a merger with Vodafone Italy, but the latter rejected a preliminary offer.

Buoyant year
In 2021, Iliad Italia increased its mobile subscriber base by almost 1.3 million to more than 8.5 million and now claims to have secured at least a 10 per cent share of the country’s mobile market.

The Italian business increased revenue 19 per cent year-on-year to €802 million and reduced its loss from ordinary activities by 40.4 per cent to €248 million.

Iliad noted the Italian unit also made a positive contribution to consolidated EBITDA after leases (EBITDAaL) for the first time.

France remains Iliad’s biggest market, with 13.6 million mobile and 6.9 million fixed users at the end of 2021. Revenue increased 3.8 per cent to €5.1 billion, while profit from ordinary activities rose 3.7 per cent to €958 million.

Including its activities in Poland, Iliad Group reported a 29.2 per cent increase in consolidated revenue to €7.6 billion. Profit from ordinary activities increased 106.3 per cent to €1.2 billion and net profit grew 25.1 per cent to €526 million.

Net debt was 3.5 per cent higher at just over €8 billion by the end of the year.