ROME — Italtel Spa, the state-owned telecommunications equipment maker, said Tuesday that it selected American Telephone & Telegraph Co. as a partner, virtually ensuring AT&T a role in Italy's huge telephone modernization project.
The government is planning to spend more than $25 billion (35 trillion lire) through 1993 on the modernization.
AT&T and Italtel have not disclosed details of their partnership. But New York-based AT&T is expected to provide Italtel with advanced switching technology and other expertise in exchange for helping the Italian company market its products outside of Italy.
The arrangement will give AT&T its first major foothold in Western Europe. A joint venture with NV Philips of the Netherlands has largely failed to crack the European telecommunications market.
AT&T's stock gained 50 cents to $32.125 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Executive committees of Italtel and its parent company, Stet Spa, ratified the choice of AT&T.
Formal approval is expected to come later this week when the executive committee of Stet's parent group, giant state holding group Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale, or IRI, meets.