Bell Atlantic Commits to Increase Stake in Omnitel, Italy's Fast Growing Wireless Venture
Will acquire share of Telia stake for approximately $163 million
April 14, 1998
PHILADELPHIA -- Bell Atlantic today announced plans to increase its
ownership in Omnitel Pronto Italia (Omnitel), the second largest GSM
operator in Italy and one of the fastest-growing wireless startups in
Bell Atlantic will purchase an additional 2.26 percent of Omnitel for
approximately U.S.$163 million.
Telia today announced it has sold its 6.77 percent stake in Omnitel,
with the remaining shares going to an Olivetti-Mannesman joint venture
Bell Atlantic, one of the largest shareholders in Omnitel, will own
19.7 percent upon completion of the transaction.
The principal owners of Omnitel Pronto Italia are Bell Atlantic,
Cellular Communications International (CCIL), and the
Olivetti-Mannesman joint venture.
On March 27 Omnitel announced it added more than 500,000 customers
since the start of 1998, and more than three million customers since
beginning service 27 months ago.
The company ended its 1997 fiscal year with US$1.07 billion in
revenues, a more than 140 percent increase over the previous year.
The company turned profitable in the latter half of 1997, well ahead
During 1997 Omnitel continued to increase its market share, signing 40
percent of all new cellular customers during the fourth quarter alone.
Total Italian market share grew to more than 20 percent by the end of
During 1997, Omnitel invested more than US$400 million in its
networks, bringing the company's overall investment to more than
US$2.25 billion since 1994. Network deployment accelerated through
1997, extending coverage to most of Italy's territory and nearly all
of its population.
Bell Atlantic is one of the world's largest wireless communications
companies, with domestic operations in 25 states and international
investments spanning Latin America, Europe and the Pacific Rim. For
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