Hutchison Whampoa is reportedly losing patience with Telecom Italia, due to the lack of progress being made in a proposed deal to merge their Italian mobile units.

According to Reuters, while the board of the Italian incumbent is set to meet this week to discuss a deal, it may not take “material steps” due to a focus on a separate deal to spin-out its fixed line business.

The fixed line separation had been seen as important in paving the way for the mobile merger, as it would ease political concern about a national asset coming under significant overseas influence.

It has been suggested that this split could take more than a year, with Reuters noting that regulators in Italy and Brussels need to agree terms for rival operators to access the network, which would still be part-owned by TI.

But the complexity of this seems to have muted enthusiasm for a mobile tie-up with Hutchison, which would have seen the Hong Kong-based conglomerate’s 3 Italy arm merged with the mobile unit of TI.

While TI had set up a special committee to “verify within a short time” if a deal with Hutchison is an option, Reuters reported early last month that there was a lack of momentum.

After buying out some minority shareholders, Hutchison is likely to own around 30 per cent of TI – making it the largest single owner.

Reuters also reiterated that some existing Telecom Italia investors, such as Telefonica, have not committed to the TI deal.