Telecom Italia (TI) is the leading provider of telecom services in Italy and one of the largest phone conglomerates in Europe. The company was formerly owned by the Italian government and was privatized in 1997. Olivetti, a much smaller company, launched a hostile takeover bid for Telecom Italia in 1999, gaining a controlling interest after a protracted battle. The two firms subsequently merged in August 2003 to form the congealed and current Telecom Italia.
Today, Telecom Italia provides fixed telecom services to 22 million subscribers of fixed access lines in Italy. Besides offering local and long-distance phone services, the company has approximately 7.4 million domestic broadband (Digital Subscriber line or DSL) customers and 3.3 million are outside Italy. Telecom Italia's subsidiary, Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM), is the leading supplier of wireless services in Italy with over 35 million subscribers. The mobile unit also has more than 29.2 million additional international wireless customers, with a major presence in Latin America (especially Brazil). The company's Telecom Italia Media unit provides Internet and media services to the Italian market, including several popular web portals, Internet access services, and television programming, such as MTV Italia.
The company's strategy is to maintain its leadership in the Italian telecom market by offering converged and integrated fixed/wireless infrastructure that enables communication services with reasonable pricing. New technologies, including DSL and UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunication System, a type of third-generation wireless technology), are core elements of the network modernization plan as management focuses on sales growth and cost control by eliminating redundancies and taking advantage of synergies among its various business units.