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India's third largest telecom operator Idea Cellular today said that it has received approval from the Department of Telecom to raise the Foreign Direct Investment limit to 100 percent.
According to the telco, approval is for total foreign investment up to 100 percent in Idea Cellular Ltd. and total indirect FDI in its relevant subsidiaries - Aditya Birla Telecom Ltd. and Idea Cellular Infrastructure Services Ltd.
The FDI approval is a major milestone in the merger process of Vodafone India with Idea Cellular and follows other statutory approvals already received from the SEBI, NSE, BSE, CCI and NCLT Mumbai and NCLT Ahmedabad.
The merger of Vodafone India with Idea Cellular is in the final leg of regulatory approvals and is expected to complete in H1CY18, subject to the final approval from the DoT, Idea said.
The merged entity will have 410 million customers and nearly 42 percent customer market share and nearly 37 percent revenue market share.
The combined company will have sufficient spectrum to compete effectively with the other major operators in the market. It would hold 1,850 MHz, including circa 1,645 MHz of liberalized spectrum acquired through auctions.
It will be capable of building substantial mobile data capacity, utilizing the largest broadband spectrum portfolio with 34 3G carriers and 129 4G carriers across the country.
Idea Cellular and Vodafone Group Plc have also announced the proposed leadership team of the combined business, that will have Kumar Mangalam Birla as the non-executive Chairman, while Balesh Sharma will be the CEO and he will be responsible for the combined business strategy and its execution as well as driving integration.
While current Deputy managing director of Idea, Ambrish Jain will take charge as Chief Operating Officer of the new company.
However, Sunil Sood will join the Vodafone Group AMAP leadership team.