Operators Iliad and WindTre reportedly completed a deal to create a joint venture designed to share the cost and management of mobile networks in rural areas of Italy, in a bid to reduce the country’s digital divide.

Italian media source Mondo Mobile Web reported the partnership, which was first mooted in 2022, has now been finalised, resulting in the creation of a new company dubbed Zefiro Net.

Iliad and WindTre will hold an equal 50:50 stake in the company. The entity will work to offer mobile services, including 5G and ultra-fast broadband in rural areas of the country, covering approximately 26.8 per cent of the Italian population.

During a half year financial results presentation in August last year, Iliad said it had a RAN sharing agreement in place with WindTre to accelerate mobile services in non-densely populated areas.

Meanwhile. the creation of a JV was first reported by Reuters in March last year, with sources claiming the new company would have a valuation of between €600 million and €900 million.

The plan reportedly got approval from Italian regulator Agcom in August.

The duo already also have a national roaming agreement in place.