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Italy - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

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
Sector | 2010 | 2012

Subscribers by sector (million):

Fixed broadband subscribers | 13.2 | 14.1
Mobile broadband | 16.9 | 21.5
Mobile phone | 91.1 | 94.4
Fixed-line telephony | 22.4 | 21.5

Penetration by sector:

Fixed broadband | 21.9% | 24.8%
Mobile | 148% | 156%
Fixed-line | 30% | 28%
(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.


1. Key Statistics
2. Telecommunications Market
2.1 Overview of Italy’s telecom market
2.2 Economic difficulties
3. Regulatory Environment
3.1 Overview
3.2 Regulatory authority
3.2.1 Communications Regulatory Authority (AGCOM)
3.3 Telecom sector liberalisation in Italy
3.3.1 Privatisation of Telecom Italia
3.3.2 Interconnect
3.3.3 Access
3.3.4 Number portability (NP)
3.3.5 Carrier PreSelection (CPS)
4. Fixed Network Operators
4.1 Overview of operators
4.2 Telecom Italia
4.2.1 Performance in 2012
4.2.2 Organisational change
4.2.3 Functional separation
4.2.4 Company sale
4.3 Wind Telecom
4.4 BT Italia
4.5 Tiscali
4.5.1 Tiscali operational data
4.6 Fastweb
4.6.1 Fastweb operational data
5. Telecommunications Infrastructure
5.1 National telecom network
5.2 International
5.2.1 Submarine cable networks
5.2.2 Satellite networks
5.3 Infrastructure developments
5.3.1 Next Generation Network (NGN)
6. Broadband Market
6.1 Overview
6.1.1 Broadband statistics
6.1.2 Government support
6.1.3 Regional development
6.2 Cable modems
6.3 Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
6.3.1 Wholesale market
6.3.2 Telecom Italia
6.3.3 Fastweb
6.3.4 Tiscali
6.3.5 Wind
6.3.6 ADSL2+
6.3.7 Naked DSL
6.4 Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH) networks
6.4.1 Overview
6.4.2 Telecom Italia
6.4.3 Fastweb
6.4.4 Rival networks
6.4.5 Other developments
6.5 Wireless broadband
6.5.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
6.5.2 Wireless LANs/WiFi
6.5.3 WiMAX
6.6 Mobile broadband
6.7 Internet via satellite
7. Digital Media
7.1 Overview
7.2 Key general trends
7.3 Business models
7.3.1 Bundled services
7.4 Regulatory issues
7.4.1 VoIP
7.5 Digital TV (DTV)
7.5.1 Broadband (IPTV)
7.5.2 Cable TV (CATV)
7.5.3 Satellite-based digital pay TV developments
7.5.4 Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
7.5.5 Analogue switchover
7.5.6 Digital TV network
7.5.7 Digital cinema
7.5.8 Video-on-Demand (VoD)
7.5.9 Personal Video Recorders (PVRs)
7.5.10 Free-to-Air (FTA) TV
7.5.11 VoIP
8. Mobile Communications
8.1 Overview of Italy’s mobile market
8.1.1 Mobile statistics
8.1.2 Operator market shares
8.2 Regulatory issues
8.2.1 Spectrum regulations and spectrum auctions
8.2.2 Roaming
8.2.3 Network sharing
8.2.4 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
8.2.5 Mobile termination
8.2.6 Fixed-mobile convergence (FMC)
8.3 Mobile technologies
8.3.1 Digital
8.3.2 Third Generation (3G) mobile
8.4 Major mobile operators
8.4.1 3 Italia
8.4.2 TIM
8.4.3 Vodafone Italy
8.4.4 Wind
8.4.5 MVNOs
8.5 Mobile voice services
8.5.1 Prepaid
8.6 Mobile Messaging
8.6.1 Short Messaging Service (SMS)
8.6.2 Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS)
8.7 Mobile data services
8.7.1 Overview
8.7.2 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
8.7.3 High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA)
8.7.4 Evolved HSPA (HSPA+)
8.7.5 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
8.7.6 Femtocells
8.7.7 Mobile TV
8.8 Mobile content and applications
8.8.1 Location-based services
8.8.2 Mobile banking/ticketing
8.8.3 Payment services
9. Forecasts
9.1 Forecasts – broadband subscribers – 2009 - 2013; 2020
9.1.1 Scenario 1 – higher broadband subscriber growth
9.1.2 Scenario 2 – lower broadband subscriber growth
9.2 Forecasts - Mobile
9.2.1 Forecasts – Mobile ARPU – 2009 - 2015
9.2.2 Forecasts – UMTS subscribers – 2009 - 2010; 2015
List of Tables, Charts and Exhibits
10. Glossary of Abbreviations
Table 1 – Country statistics – 2012 (e)
Table 2 – Telecom revenue and investment statistics – 2010
Table 3 – Telephone network statistics – March 2012 (e)
Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2012 (e)
Table 5 – Broadband statistics – 2012 (e)
Table 6 – Mobile statistics – 2012 (e)
Table 7 – National telecommunications authority
Table 8 – Index of base prices, fixed and mobile services – 2007 - 2012
Table 9 – Fixed and mobile market investment – 2004 - 2010
Table 10 – Telco market share, fixed and mobile services – 2008 - 2010
Table 11 – Fixed and mobile market revenue – 2006 - 2012
Table 12 – Retail revenue, fixed and mobile market – 2008 - 2010
Table 13 – Economic parameters: GDP, investment – 2009 - 2012
Table 14 – Fixed termination rates by company – 2007 - 2010
Table 15 – Telecom Italia wholesale access lines – 2007 - 2012
Table 16 – Cumulative numbers ported – 2002 - 2009
Table 17 – CPS lines – 2005 - 2010
Table 18 – Fixed-network access by type – 2008 - 2012
Table 19 – Fixed-line services revenue market share by operator – 2009 - 2010
Table 20 – Fixed-line voice revenue – 2009 - 2013
Table 21 – Telecom Italia fixed-line accesses by sector – 2006 - 2012
Table 22 – Telecom Italia fixed network revenue by sector – 2006 - 2012
Table 23 – Telecom Italia Group financial data – 2005 - 2012
Table 24 – Telecom Italia domestic revenue – 2005 - 2012
Table 25 – Wind subscribers by sector – 2006 - 2012
Table 26 – Wind annualised fixed-line ARPU – 2006 - 2011
Table 27 – Wind financial data – 2006 - 2012
Table 28 – Tiscali subscribers (Italy) – 2007 - 2011
Table 29 – Tiscali revenue by sector – 2006 - 2012
Table 30 – Tiscali revenue breakdown by sector – 2007 - 2012
Table 31 – Fastweb financial data (€) – 2005 - 2009
Table 32 – Fastweb financial data (CHF) – 2008 - 2012
Table 33 – Fastweb broadband subscribers – 2005 - 2012
Table 34 – Fixed-line accesses (Telecom Italia and altnets) – 2008 - 2012
Table 35 – Fixed-line access market share by operator – 2010 - 2012
Table 36 – Altnet fixed-line accesses by type – 2010 - 2012
Table 37 – Internet subscribers and penetration rate – 1991 - 2013
Table 38 – Total fixed retail broadband subscribers by access type – 2002 - 2012
Table 39 – Broadband penetration by technology – 2004 - 2011
Table 40 – Broadband revenue – 2008 – 2013
Table 41 – Broadband market share of revenue by operator – 2008 - 2010
Table 42 – Broadband market share of subscribers by operator – 2009 - 2012
Table 43 – New broadband subscribers by year – 2005 - 2013
Table 44 – Proportion of broadband connections by speed – 2009 - 2010
Table 45 – Telecom Italia NGN2 FttX deployment – 2009 - 2011
Table 46 – DSL subscribers – 2002 - 2013
Table 47 – DSL market share by operator – 2011 - 2012
Table 48 – Telecom Italia share of broadband connections – 2008 - 2011
Table 49 – Telecom Italia broadband subscribers by sector – 2006 - 2012
Table 50 – Telecom Italia wholesale access lines – 2007 - 2012
Table 51 – Telecom Italia broadband ARPU – 2006 – 2012
Table 52 – Telecom Italia internet revenue – 2007 - 2011
Table 53 – Fastweb financial data – 2005 - 2012
Table 54 – Fastweb broadband subscribers – 2005 – 2012
Table 55 – Tiscali subscribers (Italy) – 2007 - 2012
Table 56 – Tiscali financial data – 2008 - 2012
Table 57 – Wind broadband subscribers – 2005 - 2012
Table 58 – FttH accesses – 2004 – 2012
Table 59 – Telecom Italia fibre accesses – 2007 - 2010
Table 60 – Telecom Italia projected network cabinets – 2008 - 2010
Table 61 – Mobile broadband subscribers by type – 2008 - 2009
Table 62 – Mobile broadband subscribers – 2010 - 2012
Table 63 – Mobile broadband traffic – 2011 - 2012
Table 64 – Market share by broadcaster – 2009 - 2010
Table 65 – Revenue by broadcaster – 2009 - 2010
Table 66 – Pay TV subscribers by technology – 2003 - 2010
Table 67 – Pay TV revenue by platform – 2008 - 2009
Table 68 –TV revenue by platform (Pay, FTA) – 2009 - 2010
Table 69 – Pay TV market share by operator – 2009 - 2010
Table 70 – Telecom Italia IPTV subscribers – 2007 - 2012
Table 71 – Cable TV subscribers and penetration rate – 1996 – 2011; 2015
Table 72 – Forecast satellite TV penetration – 2007 - 2015
Table 73 – SKY Italia subscribers – 2006 - 2012
Table 74 – SKY Italia financial data – 2007 - 2011
Table 75 – Mediaset financial data – 2006 - 2012
Table 76 – Mediaset revenue (Italy) – 2007 - 2011
Table 77 – Mediaset Premium active clients – 2007 - 2011
Table 78 – DTTV receivers, forecasts and annual change – 2004 - 2013
Table 79 – Telecom Italia VoIP subscribers – 2006 - 2012
Table 80 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – Mar 2012
Table 81 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1995; 1997; 1999 - 2013
Table 82 – Mobile market revenue – 2008 – 2012
Table 83 – Mobile market share of revenue by operator – 2008 - 2010
Table 84 – Revenue per active SIM – 2008 - 2012
Table 85 – Revenue by service – 2009 - 2010
Table 86 – Revenue per user, by service – 2009 - 2010
Table 87 – Mobile market investments – 2009 - 2012
Table 88 – Mobile market share of subscribers by operator – 2004 - 2012
Table 89 – Mobile market share of subscribers by operator – 2004 - 2012
Table 90 – European roaming charges – 2007 – 2011; 2014
Table 91 – Cumulative mobile numbers ported – 2003 – 2012
Table 92 – Annual mobile numbers portings – 2002 – 2012
Table 93 – Mobile termination rates – 2008 - 2012
Table 94 – Proposed mobile termination rates – 2012 - 2015
Table 95 – UMTS/HSPA subscribers – 2004 - 2012
Table 96 – 3 Italia mobile subscribers – 2008 - 2012
Table 97 – 3 Italia annualised ARPU – 2008 - 2011
Table 98 – 3 Italia mobile revenue – 2008 - 2010
Table 99 – TIM mobile subscribers – 2005 - 2012
Table 100 – TIM mobile revenue by sector, annual change – 2008 - 2012
Table 101 – Vodafone subscribers – 2001 - 2011
Table 102 – Vodafone revenue by sector – 2008 - 2012
Table 103 – Vodafone prepaid, contract and blended ARPU (€) – 2004 - 2012
Table 104 – Vodafone mobile customer cost – 2007 - 2011
Table 105 – Wind operational statistics and revenue – 2005 – 2012
Table 106 – Wind annualised mobile ARPU – 2005 - 2011
Table 107 – Wind mobile subscriber statistics – 2005 - 2012
Table 108 – MVNO mobile subscribers and revenue – 2008 - 2012
Table 109 – MVNO market share of revenue, subscribers – 2009 - 2011
Table 110 – MVNO subscribers by operator – 2009 - 2010
Table 111 – MVNO market share of MVNO subscribers – 2010 - 2012
Table 112 – Prepaid cards in service – 2009 - 2012
Table 113 – SMS/MMS and other data revenue – 2008 - 2010
Table 114 – Vodafone data as proportion of revenue – 2005 - 2012
Table 115 – Mobile data revenue as proportion of total – 2004 - 2013
Table 116 – Growth in mobile data use – 2007 - 2012
Table 117 – Mobile data traffic – 2010 - 2015
Table 118 – Forecast broadband subscribers – higher market growth scenario – 2009 - 2013; 2020
Table 119 – Forecast broadband subscribers – lower market growth scenario – 2009 - 2013; 2020
Table 120 – Forecast mobile ARPU – 2009 - 2015
Table 121 – Forecast UMTS subscribers and penetration rate – 2009 - 2010; 2015
Chart 1 – Fixed and mobile market investment – 2004 - 2010
Chart 2 – Total fixed and mobile market revenue – 2006 - 2012
Chart 3 – Retail revenue, fixed and mobile market – 2008 - 2010
Chart 4 – Telecom Italia wholesale access lines – 2007 - 2012
Chart 5 – Telecom Italia fixed-line accesses by sector – 2006 - 2012
Chart 6 – Telecom Italia fixed network revenue by sector – 2006 - 2012
Chart 7 – Telecom Italia Group financial data – 2006 - 2012
Chart 8 – Telecom Italia domestic revenue – 2005 - 2012
Chart 9 – Wind financial data – 2006 – 2012
Chart 10 – Tiscali subscribers (Italy) – 2007 - 2011
Chart 11 – Tiscali revenue by sector – 2006 - 2012
Chart 12 – Internet subscribers and penetration rate – 2002 - 2013
Chart 13 – Total fixed broadband subscribers by access type – 2002 – 2012
Chart 14 – Telecom Italia broadband subscribers by sector – 2006 - 2012
Chart 15 – Telecom Italia wholesale access lines – 2007 - 2012
Chart 16 – Tiscali subscribers (Italy) – 2007 - 2012
Chart 17 – Tiscali financial data – 2008 - 2012
Chart 18 – Revenue by broadcaster – 2009 – 2010
Chart 19 – Pay TV revenue by platform – 2008 - 2009
Chart 20 – Mediaset financial data – 2006 – 2012
Chart 21 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2002 - 2013
Chart 22 – Mobile market revenue – 2008 - 2012
Chart 23 – Revenue per active SIM – 2008 - 2012
Chart 24 – Revenue by service – 2009 – 2010
Chart 25 – 3 Italia mobile subscribers – 2008 - 2012
Chart 26 – 3 Italia annualised ARPU – 2008 – 2011
Chart 27 – TIM annualised ARPU – 2005 – 2012
Chart 28 – TIM revenue by sector, annual change – 2008 – 2012
Chart 29 – Vodafone prepaid, contract and blended ARPU (€) – 2004 - 2012
Chart 30 – SMS/MMS and other data revenue – 2008 - 2010
Exhibit 1 – EU – The New Regulatory Framework (NRF)
Exhibit 2 – Access and the local loop
Exhibit 3 - Principal backbone providers – 2012
Exhibit 4 – WiMAX licensees – 2010
Exhibit 5 – Overview of digital media
Exhibit 6 – DTTV ASO by region – 2008 - 2012
Exhibit 7 – UMTS auction results – 2000
Exhibit 8 – UMTS auction results – 2009

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