NEW DELHI: The telecom ministry (DoT) on Monday approved the merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular that will create India’s largest mobile services operator, an official source said.
“DoT has cleared the Vodafone-Idea merger today (Monday). They will have to meet conditions for final approval,” the source told PTI.
The department has asked Idea Cellular to pay Rs 39.26 billion in cash for Vodafone spectrum and furnish a bank guarantee of Rs 33.42 billion, the source further said. The combined operations of Idea and Vodafone will create India’s largest telecom operator worth over USD 23 billion (or over Rs 1.5 trillion), with a 35 per cent market share and a subscriber base of around 430 million.
The merger is expected to give breather to both debt-ridden firms Idea and Vodafone, from cut-throat competition in the market where margins have hit rock bottom with free voice calls. The combined debt of both the companies is estimated to be around Rs 1.15 trillion.