Italia's Hotspot Hiccup

Telecom Italia SpA's (NYSE: TI) domestic wireline unit was all set to roll out a new wireless LAN hotspot service in more than 20 regions in Italy this week, when it ran into some nasty red tape.

The Italian incumbent operator spent the past five months working with Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) learning to use its Integrated Service Management (ISM) OSS suite to deploy and manage its hotspot service.

Just days away from activation, Telecom Italia discovered it didn’t have regulatory approval to sell the service [ed. note: Merda!].

“It’s a bit of a hiccup, as it’s stuck in the trial phase now,” says Michele Campriani, HP's worldwide marketing manager for OSS, network, and service provider business unit.

How long before it does get approval, then?

”We talking about Italy here,” says Campriani, “Who knows?”

Other operators in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the U.K have had more success rolling out wireless hotspot services. IDC expects more than 32,500 wireless hotspots in Western Europe by 2007, up from 1,000 at the end of 2002 (see WiFi Avec Les Frites?, Wi-Fi Alliance Comes to Europe, IDC: Euro Hotspots to Boom). Telecom Italia was unavailable for comment.

— Jo Maitland, Senior Editor, Boardwatch

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