Vodafone Group’s €18.4 billion deal to acquire Liberty Global’s operations in Germany and three other markets is set to be approved by European Commission (EC) competition authorities, Reuters reported.

The EC has a provisional deadline of 23 July to make a decision on the proposed deal, which has been criticised by German rival Deutsche Telekom and several other companies in the country over competition issues.

In May, the EC gave Vodafone a list of objections for the acquisition of the assets covering Germany, Hungary, Romania and The Czech Republic, which the operator set about addressing.

Later that month, Vodafone announced it had struck a conditional wholesale access agreement with rival Telefonica Deutschland allowing the latter access to both its and Liberty Global’s Unitymedia cable networks. The agreement is subject to approval of its Liberty deal.

Despite detractors to the deal in Germany, Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read and predecessor Vittorio Colao have repeatedly voiced their confidence it would get the green light. Since the agreement was first struck in May 2018, both executives have met a number of European politicians to outline the perceived benefits of the deal.

Vodafone’s bid to acquire the cable assets forms part of a wider strategy by the operator group to provide converged fixed and mobile services across its footprint.