Once AT&T retired its offer, the future of Telecom Italia seems to rely upon Intesa Sanpaolo’s bid (probably the biggest italian bank). Should this scenario become true, the result would be a sort of Zaibatsu.
The interesting thing is that to avoid the monopoly, the Italian governement and the Ministry of communication, On. Gentiloni (Margherita) are creating an enormous conglomerate.
Will that helps promoting free market?
Sometimes they strike back. Italian Prime Minister on. Romano Prodi and the Ministry of communication, on. Paolo Gentiloni are talking again about the idea of “unbundle” the telephone network propriety from the service provided through the lines. It seems that the chosen model would be the UK way: a public company “owns” the wires, while the operators (including Telecom Italia) will compete on the market services.
It might have been the former mr. Prodi’s governement mistake to sell Telecom Italia the telephone network, but nevertheless it doesn’t seem that fair – now – to take the network back, thus reducing ex lege the value of a company. This “pendulum-based” approach (swinging back and forth from private to public ownership) it is not a good signal for both the market and the foreign investor who will continue staring at Italy as an unreliable country to do business with (or in.)
Truth is that Italy is paying the almost total lack – in the last 15 years – of a telecommunications political strategy. Television market has been, is and will be politicians main concern, while lasting everything else back.
Pretending that a problem doesn’t exist is not an option, because – it is just matter of time – the bill always come at the end of the dinner.
Sect. 1 para 3 of the Decree Law “Bersani” (named after the ministry who drafted the text) states that users must be free to shift from an ISP to another at their will, just paying anything but the “documented cost” suffered by the ISP (for instance, the remaining cost of the yearly-leased ADSL line). This provision has been celebrated as an effective way to protect consumers, no more forced to pay penalties for their own freedom of choise.
The gov’t seems unaware of a side effects of this decree: big telcos will likely retain from asking for these costs, while small and medium ISP’s – for obvious reasons – don’t. What is likely to happens, then, is that the latters will be cut-out from the user-mobility market, since nobody would subscribe a service, knowing that he have to pay for moving to another provider.
The final chapter of this tale is that – just matter of time – only the big operator will continue to stay on the market, while other players may rest in peace.