Mumbai – British mobile phone giant Vodafone will merge its Indian unit with Idea Cellular to create the country’s largest telecoms operator, the firms said on Monday.

“Vodafone Group Plc and Idea Cellular today announced that they have reached an agreement to combine their operations in India,” they said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

“The combined company would become the leading communications provider in India with almost 400 million customers, 35 percent customer market share and 41 percent revenue market share,” the statement added.

The confirmation ended months of speculation that the two operators were ready to sign a deal to help fend off Reliance Jio, whose recent arrival has shaken up India’s ultra-competitive mobile network market.

Reliance Jio, which began operations last year, is owned by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani.

© AFP Indranil MUKHERJEE Vodaphone says a merger with Idea Cellular in India would create a service provider with almost 400 million customers

© AFP Indranil MUKHERJEE – Vodaphone says a merger with Idea Cellular in India would create a service provider with almost 400 million customers