Telecom Italia took out a loan of €350 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to help fund enhancements to its existing 4G network and deployment of 5G, adding to its debt of over €24 billion.
In a statement, the operator explained the funding will be used to expand commercial 5G and LTE ultra-broadband services, including fixed wireless access offerings, throughout the country.
The loan covers a period of six years. Telecom Italia said its infrastructure investment plan aimed to deliver “faster, higher-capacity connections to extend the latest generation mobile phone network to virtually all Italian people and businesses”.
It added the funding would allow it to complete a goal relating to outdoor 4G superfast mobile connection coverage in 2019 and 2020, and would “lead to a substantial increase in the network’s capacity to cope with the huge growth in traffic at 5G speeds of up to 2Gb/s”.
Of Telecom Italia’s total planned investments, 30 per cent will be set aside for southern Italy.
In July the operator’s tower unit Inwit reportedly lined-up bank loans of €2.5 billion to help advance the creation of a joint infrastructure business with Vodafone Italy. Telecom Italia CEO Luigi Gubitosi subsequently said the company could sell part of its stake in the combined business, to tap growing interest in the sector from financiers.
The operator’s debt fell by €419 million in Q3 and stood at €24.3 billion by end-September. Telecom Italia stated it was ahead of debt reduction targets despite what it described as a “complex competitive background”.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back