Wind 3, the Italian Hutchison and VimpelCom joint venture, officially launched with the promise of a €7 billion investment in the country’s digital infrastructure.

The completion of the merger combining the Italian operations of Hutchison’s 3 and VimpelCom’s Wind was announced in November, following final approval by the European Commission. The companies’ combined customer bases of 31 million mobile and 2.7 million fixed-line customers were switched over to the new business at the turn of the year.

Wind 3 is led by CEO Maximo Ibarra and, according to the company, intends to provide improved network quality and speed through its investment in infrastructure in the coming years.

Ibarra was previously CEO and COO of Wind Telecomunicazioni, one of the jv’s components.

Ibarra said the combination was “an important development for the digital economy” in the country. He added the company would seek to differentiate on the quality of its infrastructure along with “the transparency of our offerings and the passion of our people”.

At the time of the acquisition, Wind and 3 were the third and fourth largest operators in Italy respectively. The then market leader TIM had 30 million connections, while Vodafone Italy had almost 25 million.