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Telecom Italia eyes network deal with regulator by early 2014

ROME (Reuters) - Telecom Italia aims to reach a deal with Italy's telecommunications regulator AGCOM on the spin off of its domestic fixed line network by early next year, the company's chairman said on Wednesday.

The board of Italy's biggest phone company approved on May 30 a plan to hive off fixed-line network assets into a new company, a move that could help it raise cash and that could trigger a regulatory overhaul.

"Our hope is that the regulatory process will conclude by the end of 2013/early 2014, in order to get a timely start to operations at the new company," Franco Bernabe said during a hearing in the Senate.

The separation of the network, which has an estimated value of 13-15 billion euros ($17.4-20.1 billion), could pave the way for a sale of a stake in the new company to state-backed fund Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP).

A source previously said the network spin off could take up to 18 months to complete.

(Reporting by Alberto Sisto, writing by Danilo Masoni)

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