Italy’s telecoms lobby Asstel is asking the government to reschedule more than 4 billion euros ($4.54 billion) in payments due later this year from its 5G mobile spectrum auction, Reuters reported.
Telecom Italia and rival Vodafone, the top spenders at the auction, are due to pay about 1.7 billion euros ($1.93 billion) respectively by end-September.
In 2018 Italy raised a bumper 6.5 billion euros in its 5G mobile auction that drew ferocious bidding from telecoms operators vying for an edge in new digital services.
Since then price competition for mobile services has led to a steady drop in revenue which has put the telecom sector’s margins under pressure, Massimo Sarmi, head of telecoms lobby Asstel, said in a letter to Italy’s Industry Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti.
Massimo Sarmi added in the letter dated Feb. 16 that it would be hard for mobile operators to make the payments in a single year as it could dampen their ability to finance other areas of business.