BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Business
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Market Data 
Economy 
Companies 
E-Commerce 
Your Money 
Business Basics 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Tuesday, 17 October, 2000, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
Threat to BT Italy deal
Telecom Italia
Telecom Italia is the dominant player in the Italian market
Speculation is growing that Italian mobile phone operator Blu - in which BT has a stake - may withdraw from the auction for an Italian third generation mobile phone licence.

A dispute between Blu shareholders has prompted media speculation that the consortium will withdraw from the auction.

We are fully committed to Blu and winning a third generation licence in Italy. We fully expect to take part in the auction with our partners.

BT spokesman

The dispute centres on how to share the costs of the licence, estimated to be about 5 billion euros ($4.25bn), as well as whether BT should take a larger stake in the consortium.

BT is to meet with its partners in Blu, which include Italian motorway operator Autostrade - controlled by Italy's Benetton group - as well as Italgas and the BNL bank.

"We are fully committed to Blu and winning a third generation licence in Italy," a BT spokesman said on Tuesday.

"We fully expect to take part in the auction with our partners."

Autostrade's chief executive Vito Gamberale suggested in early October that the company's 32% stake in Blu should be reduced because it was not a strategic holding.

BT is understood to be prepared to increase its stake to 30%, not the 52% desired by the other shareholders.

Blu started operations in May this year and has about 430,000 subscribers.

Gamble for customers

Altogether, six consortiums are lining up to bid for the five Italian third generation licences.

Analysts expect the auction to bring in revenues of about 25 billion euros for the Italian Treasury, slightly less than similar auctions in the UK and Germany.

The high cost of buying these mobile licences has raised eyebrows across Europe as it is unclear whether mobile companies will be able to garner enough revenues to justify the initial outlay.

Mobile phone customers in Italy typically spend slightly less each month than their European partners on a mobile phone.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

12 Oct 00 | Business
Date set for Italian mobile auction
17 Aug 00 | Business
German phone auction bonanza
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Business stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories