Telecom Italia’s (TI) plan to acquire fixed operator Metroweb would only be allowed under very strict conditions according to Giovanni Pitruzzella, chairman of AGCM, the country’s competition authority — an intervention which could open the door to rival bidders thought to include Vodafone.

Pitruzzella’s comment was reported by Reuters.

TI, which is already Italy’s leading fixed operator, last week sent a proposal to asset management F2i Sgr, formalising TI’s interest in starting discussions “as soon as possible” about the acquisition of a controlling stake in Italian fixed provider Metroweb.

F2i Sgr owns 54 per cent of Metroweb Italia, the 87 per cent shareholder in Metroweb itself.

Vodafone’s interest in Metroweb, which runs a fibre network in Milan, would be consistent with its pursuit of fixed networks around Europe. Already it has made larger acquisitions in Germany and Spain to fill out its quadplay strategy.

Meanwhile, TI views Metroweb as a means to speed up the deployment of high-speed networks — both fibre-to-the-home and fibre-to-the-building — in major Italian cities.