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Italy's Wind calls for mobile network sharing

CAPRI, Italy (Reuters) - Italy's third-largest mobile phone company Wind called for peers to share their frequencies and antennas to help roll out a superfast network.

"I believe there is awareness among all mobile operators that there is the need to place, into a specifically created company, frequencies and networks," Wind Chief Executive Maximo Ibarra said on the sidelines of an event in Capri on Friday .

"Competition will be on services," he said.

Elsewhere in Europe, mobile operators have already inked or are negotiating network-sharing deals as they aim to save costs and boost coverage at a time of economic downturn.

In June, Vodafone and O2, owned by Telefonica of Spain, agreed to form a joint venture in Britain to pool infrastructure and cut costs of building a new superfast service.

Ibarra also said plans by Telecom Italia to separate its fixed network into a new company should be open to the state, broadband infrastructure company Metroweb and alternative carriers to join.

Telecom Italia, Italy's biggest telecoms company, is in talks with state-backed financing body Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) to spin off its valuable landline infrastructure and boost broadband investment in Italy.

The CDP is expected to take a minority stake in the project.

Telecom Italia Chairman Franco Bernabe has said the company will take a decision on whether to go ahead with the spin-off by the end of the year.

At the event on Friday, an executive of telecommunications company Fastweb, a unit of Swisscom, said it was not interested in joining Telecom Italia's project.

(Reporting by Alberto Sisto; Editing by David Holmes)

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