Telecom Italia (TI) reported that revenue from its mobile business during the first half of 2010 was EUR3.91 billion, down 9.4 percent from the same period in 2009. It said that service revenue fell by 7.3 percent and revenue from products decreased by 45.8 percent. Voice revenue for the period was EUR2.76 billion, down 11.3 percent year-on-year, as a result of reduced service charges and cuts in mobile termination rates. This was partially offset by a 5.5 percent increase in value-added service revenue, to EUR1 billion. The company said that it provides 30.5 million mobile lines, an increase of 152,000 from the first quarter of 2010, but down from the end of December 2009, due to “a more selective policy that places special focus on high value-added customers.” First-half net income across the whole Telecom Italia group rose 26 percent to EUR1.2 billion on revenues of EUR13 billion, down 0.7 percent from the first six months of 2009.
Much of the media attention during the financial results was focused on the fact that the company has resolved doubts over its position in Argentina, where it is a shareholder in integrated operator Telecom Argentina. After having reviewed options including a possible sale of its shareholding, it has now opted to “reinforce” its partnership with co-shareholder Werthein Group, stating that it will “explore all the various options for its future presence in the country” – it was widely reported that TI is set to approach the Argentinean regulators for approval to increase its holding in the business. Reuters says that the agreement will give TI several options going forward, including the possibility to integrate its activities in Argentina with those it has in Brazil. The Agreement also makes a number of changes to the partnership’s governance, which TI said “may make a positive contribution to the resolution of the issues already raised by the Argentine authorities.” The authorities previously expressed concern about Telefonica’s ownership of a stake in TI, which could give it indirect influence over Telecom Argentina, when it also owns Telefonica de Argentina.