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 US$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 Mannesmann (5.9%).
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.