Mon. Jan 30th, 2023

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €2 billion Italian scheme made available through the Recovery and Resilience Facility (‘RRF’) to roll out high-performing 5G mobile networks.

The measure, which will be entirely funded via the RRF, is part of Italy’s strategy to address the needs of citizens and businesses in the context of the digitalisation of the country.

The scheme also contributes to the EU’s strategic objectives relating to the digital transition. The scheme, which will run until 30 June 2026 and will take the form of direct grants to electronic communications services providers. The measure will finance the deployment of: (i) performant backhaul networks to connect the mobile base stations that by 2026 will not have a performant one; and (ii) the necessary base stations to provide 5G mobile services offering speeds of at least 150 Mbps download and 30 Mbps upload in those areas of Italy which, by 2026, will not be served by networks offering download speed above 30 Mbps.

The Commission assessed the scheme under EU State aid rules, in particular Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which allows State aid to facilitate the development of certain economic activities or of certain economic areas. On this basis, the Commission concluded that the scheme is in line with EU State aid rules.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “This €2 billion Italian scheme, entirely funded via the RRF, will support the deployment of high performing 5G mobile networks. This will enable consumers and business to access high-quality 5G services, contributing to the economic growth of the country and to the EU’s strategic objectives relating to the digital transition.”

A press release is available online.

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