Bell Atlantic, Mannesmann, and Olivetti Strengthen Omnitel Commitment; Bell Atlantic Chooses to Leave Infostrada
December 9, 1997
Philadelphia, Pa. - Bell Atlantic, Mannesmann, and Olivetti today
announced an agreement to continue working closely together on their
Omnitel Pronto Italia wireless business as Bell Atlantic chooses to
sell its 33 percent ownership of Infostrada to Olivetti.
Under terms of the agreement Bell Atlantic has sold its interest in
Infostrada to Olivetti for proceeds of U.S.$43 million and additional
Board representation in both Omnitel Pronto Italia (OPI) and Omnitel
Sistemi Radiocellulari (OSR), the company which owns 70 percent of
OPI. Olivetti and Mannesmann will hold 100 percent of Infostrada
through their new joint venture. Omnitel will benefit from Bell
Atlantic's enhanced commitment and all three partners' resolutions to
strengthen competitive positioning for Omnitel - a company they and
their partners built into one of the world's fastest-growing wireless
operations. Omnitel last week reached two million customers in its
first 24 months of service.
Olivetti and Mannesmann will use their Infostrada joint venture to
focus on the development of the fixed wireline network in order to
compete in the new liberalized Italian telecommunications market.
Omnitel Pronto Italia is 70 percent owned by Omnitel Systemi
Radiocellulari (OSR) and 30 percent owned by Pronto Italia (PI). The
OSR consortium includes Olivetti, Bell Atlantic, Cellular
Communications International (CCII), and Telia. The PI consortium's
largest shareholders are AirTouch and Mannesmann.
Prior to the close of Olivetti's and Mannesmann's joint venture,
Omnitel Pronto Italia's top shareholders are Olivetti (35.5%), Bell
Atlantic (17.4%), AirTouch (15.5%), CCII (10.3%), Telia (6.8%), and
The new Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and
NYNEX - is at the forefront of the new communications, information and
entertainment industry. With 40 million telephone access lines and
5.8 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are
premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market
leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of
directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the
world's largest investors in high-growth global communications
markets, with operations and investments in 21 countries.