In a significant development for Italy’s telecom landscape, WindTre has finalized an agreement to purchase OpNet, a renowned Italian Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) expert, for a deal worth €485 million. This acquisition not only enhances WindTre’s spectrum holdings but also integrates a pioneering 5G standalone network into its portfolio.
This move comes amidst WindTre’s ongoing divestiture of its network operations in Italy, following a €3.4 billion agreement with EQT in the previous year. While details from WindTre are pending, the announcement originated from OpNet, leaving industry onlookers to speculate on WindTre’s strategic motivations. Analysts suggest the acquisition is primarily aimed at bolstering WindTre’s 5G capabilities and spectrum resources.
OpNet, formerly known as Linkem, has evolved from its beginnings in WiFi technology through WiMAX and LTE, to establish itself as a leader in 5G technology. It claims the title of the first 5G standalone network operator in Italy and possibly Europe, a claim supported by its provision of Ericsson’s 5G core technology for its FWA service. Today, OpNet’s network, with over 3,000 base stations, covers approximately 75% of the Italian population, making it a lucrative asset for WindTre.
The acquisition is seen as a strategic move for WindTre, enhancing its network infrastructure and supporting Italy’s digital transformation. OpNet views the deal as an opportunity to solidify its business model and asset base. For OpNet’s parent company, Jefferies Financial Group, the sale marks a strategic shift back towards its core investment banking activities. The deal, subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close later this year and underscores a significant realignment in Italy’s telecom sector, with potential long-term benefits for connectivity and digital services across the country.