The sale of Telecom Italia's (TIM) network is the only "realistic" option for the group, as it grants the survival of the phone company, Italy's economy minister said on Tuesday.

"TIM shareholders will decide if the sale of the fixed-line network to KKR will go ahead," Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti told a press conference.

At an annual general meeting on April 23, TIM shareholders will decide whether to hand to outgoing Chief Executive Pietro Labriola, who engineered the network sale, another mandate at helm of the group.

(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, writing by Claudia Cristoferi, editing Giulia Segreti)