Italy's Wind Outlines Investment Strategy

ROME (05/12/2000) - Italian telecommunications operator Wind SpA plans to invest 8 trillion lire (US$3.7 billion) in a fiber-optic cable project linking 148 Italian cities, the chief executive officer, who is also the controlling shareholder, reportedly told a press conference in Milan today.

The 4,000-kilometer (2,500-mile) fiber-optic network will cover one-third of Italy's population, Franco Tato, CEO of Italian electricity utility ENEL SpA, reportedly said at today's press conference.

Wind expects its customer base to rise to 6 million, up from 4 million, by the end of this year, Tato was quoted as saying. The company anticipates having 3 million customers for its fixed telephony service, 2 million for its cellular phone service and 1 million Internet subscribers by the end of 2000, according to Tato.

ENEL controls 51 percent of Wind, with France Telecom SA and Deutsche Telekom AG both holding 24.5 percent stakes. ENEL and France Telecom are seeking the removal of the German carrier from the joint venture, saying its attempted takeover of Telecom Italia SpA last year constituted a violation of company accords. The issue is currently before an arbitration court in Geneva, which is due to meet next week. "We want the Germans to leave, and we intend to pursue that objective," Tato reportedly said today.

Wind can be contacted in Rome at +3906-8311-5855 or on the World Wide Web at http://www.wind.it/.

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