Telecom Giants Still Have The Lines Tied Up

Arturo Artom was the first to dare. In 1993, his Milan-based Telsystem challenged Italy's state monopoly Telecom Italia for a piece of the phone business in private corporate networks. The European Union had declared this sector of the telecom business open to all comers. But Telecom Italia still refused to lease its phone lines to Artom. He says they even sent bullying letters to his clients. The 29-year-old entrepreneur took the monopoly to court. On Mar. 8, a Roman appeals court ruled in his favor. Telecom Italia is complying but still claims Telsystem wanted to "expropriate" its assets by piggybacking on its network instead of starting its own.

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