The government has approved the merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular that will create the country’s largest mobile phone operator worth more than $23 billion with a 35 per cent market share, according to top officials.
The Department of Telecommunication has given its stamp of approval for the amalgamation after the two firms provided for Rs. 7,248.78 crore as one-time spectrum charge (OTSC), a senior government official told news agency PTI.
Confirming that approval has been accorded for the mega deal, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said the government expects the market to stabilise post merger.
“We expect to see robust growth in the telecom sector with the emergence of three strong private sector players, and one public sector player,” she told PTI.
The combined entity, Vodafone Idea Ltd, with nearly 430 million customers would overtake Bharti Airtel, which currently has 344 million users. The deal also comes at a time of raging price war, triggered by new entrant Reliance Jio, in the world’s second-largest telecom market.