Three and Wind are currently the third and fourth largest mobile companies in Italy, and the Commission had concerns that the transaction would possess harmed competition, it said. However, the two companies possess offered structural remedies that will permit French operator Iliad into the Italian market, the Commission said.

Iliad will buy some of the joint venture’s mobile radio spectrum, and will share several thousand base stations with Three and Wind. A transitional agreement giving access to 2G, 3G and 4G and other technologies will permit Iliad to operate the joint venture’s network to offer mobile services until it has built its own mobile network.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “This case shows that telecom companies in Europe can develop by consolidation within the same state, provided effective competition is preserved. It also shows they can develop by cross-edge expansion, such as Iliad in this case.”

The Commission blocked a proposed merger between Three and O2 in the UK in May. The proposed £10.25 billion deal, which would possess seen Hutchison purchase O2 UK from Spain’s Telefónica, would possess “significantly reduced competition” in the UK mobile market, the Commission said.

Hutchison offered a range of remedies to address competition concerns, including letting unit or two mobile virtual network operators share access to the network of the combined Three/O2 business. It also said it would offer Virgin Media the chance to share the network capacity of the merged business. However, the Commission said the package of remedies on offer was not adequate to address its concerns.