2012 Italy - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts

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Last updated: 16 Jul 2012 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 114

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Italy’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the mobile, internet, broadband, digital TV and converging media sectors. Subjects include:

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Facts, figures and statistics;
  • Industry and regulatory issues;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers, ARPU, MoU;
  • Internet, VoIP, IPTV;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
  • Broadband (FttH, DSL, cable TV, wireless);
  • Convergence and Digital Media;
  • 3G subscriber and mobile ARPU forecasts to 2015;
  • Broadband market forecasts for selective years to 2020.

Key developments:

NGN Committee works on open access network, Fastweb, Wind and Vodafone continue with €2.5 billion NGN project; Milan’s Metroweb sold to F2i and IMI Investimenti; TI sets up JV to build open access fibre network covering 80% of buildings in Milan; Fastweb bundles broadband with Sky Italia; Metroweb proposes €4.5 billion FttH network covering 30 cities; regulator extends 3G licences to 2029 and GSM licences to 2027; TIM contracts NSN for LTE base stations; mobile market value falls to an estimated €17.4 billion in 2011; TIM to close mobile TV service; 3 Italia contracts Ericsson for seven-year managed services deal; Digi Mobil launches mobile services tailored to Romanians in Italy; regulator proposes lower MTRs to 2015; spectrum auction opens up LTE sector and delivers €3.945 billion for the government; MVNO customer base exceeds four million; DTT spectrum auction expected later in 2012; Dahlia TV folds; SKY Italia and Fastweb team to provide bundled services; regulator addresses fibre network open access; FiberCo to coordinate fibre deployments to 20 million people in 15 cities by 2015; Telecom Italia commitment to deliver FttH/FttB to an additional 138 cities by 2018; TivùSat reports over one million active cards; regulator’s 2011 market data; telco operating and financial  data to March 2012; market developments to mid-2012.

Companies covered in this report include:

3 Italia, TIM, Vodafone, Wind, Telecom Italia, Metroweb, Fastweb, Tiscali, BT Italia, SKY Italia, Tivùsat.

Researcher:- Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- July 2012 (10th Edition) 

Executive Summary

Concerted efforts to deliver widespread FttH by 2015

BuddeComm’s quarterly publication, Italy - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts, provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications and digital media markets in one of southern Europe’s largest countries. The report includes the regulator’s market data to the end of 2011, telcos’ financial and operating data to March 2012, and market developments into mid-2012.

Economic background

Italy has become one of the principal casualties of the difficult economic conditions. The country’s economy has been stagnant for years, with small businesses unable to compete with Asian imports. Government fiscal difficulties, compounded by low tax revenue, resulted in government debt reaching some €1.9 trillion. Servicing this debt became unmanageable by the end of 2011. A government at the end of the year implemented a package of austerity measures designed to cut debt and avert financial collapse. Yet by mid-2012 the country had slid deeper into recession, with GDP expected to shrink by 1.9% in the year, while economic output is forecast to be 6% below its peak in 2008.

Telecom market overview

Italy has the fourth largest telecom market in Europe. Its value has fallen steadily since 2008, though partly buttressed by the internet access and mobile data markets. Telecom Italia dominates all market sectors despite effective competition. Mobile penetration is far higher than the EU average, while the four active MNOs have made great strides in developing LTE networks to support consumer use of mobile data services, and so develop a key revenue stream for coming years.

Fibre broadband market

The fast developing fibre market is largely directed by the NGN Committee, set up in late 2010 and formed around a nucleus of industrial partners and telcos. The Committee manages collaborative projects aimed at delivering FttX to 20 million people by 2015. In addition, Telecom Italia is committed to bringing FttH/FttB to 138 cities by 2018. A separate group of telcos set up FiberCo as a vehicle company to oversee passive infrastructure, with the regulator charged with developing a framework for equal infrastructure access. These schemes should bring much needed rationality to the country’s approach towards a fibre-based NGN, so reducing costs and effectively extending the network beyond urban areas.

Key telecom parameters – 2010; 2012




Subscribers by sector (million):

Fixed broadband subscribers



Mobile broadband



Mobile phone



Fixed-line telephony



Penetration by sector:

Fixed broadband









(Source: BuddeComm)


Market Highlights

  • In 2004, only 4% of mobile subscribers in Italy used 3G technology, but by mid- 2012 this had increased to about 50%, one of the highest proportions in Europe.
  • Revenue per active SIM card has fallen by about 15% since 2008 in the wake of competitive pressure and regulatory measures.
  • An auction to reallocate TV frequencies, expected in late 2012, will address efficiency in spectrum use as well as the need for the government to secure up to €1.2 billion in revenue. Licences for frequencies in the 700MHz range will be focussed on enabling broadband access from 2015.
  • Fibre broadband developments are quickening, with Metroweb planning a scheme worth some €4.5 billion and covering 30 major cities by 2015.
  • The drive towards LTE has been facilitated by operators gaining access to the 1800MHz band at the end of 2011. The 2.6GHz band will be available by the end of 2012, and the 800MHz band at the start of 2013, following analogue switch-off by broadcasters.

This report is essential reading for those needing high level strategic information and objective analysis on the telecom sector in Italy. It provides further information on:

  • Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
  • The impact of the global economic crisis;
  • Telecoms operators – privatisation, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Mobile data market developments in coming years in light of spectrum auctions and new license awards;
  • 3G developments, regulatory issues and technologies including HSPA and LTE;
  • Broadband migration to an FttH architecture;
  • Historical and current subscriber statistics and forecasts;
  • ARPU statistics and forecasts.

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

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