Vodafone-idea merger in final stages, awaiting FDI approval, says DoT secy

Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan

The merger between telecom majors Idea Cellular and Vodafone India is in the final stages of approval, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said on Tuesday.

"The Idea-Vodafone merger is in the final stages of approval. Because they have got the NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal) and Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India) clearances, but there are some FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) approvals that are involved, there are some liberalisation of licences," Sundararajan said on the sidelines of an event organised by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).

"So, there are a number of clearances, it is not a one-step clearance," she added.

Sundararajan said the National Telecom Policy was in its final stages of drafting after which it would be taken to the Telecom Commission for approval and then to the government.

The Secretary expressed hope that the roadmap for the fifth-generation (5G) network in India would be ready by June.

Addressing the COAI event on 'Catalysing 5G launch in India', Sundararajan said: "The 5G technology evolution is expected to enable new services, connecting new industries, various forms of devices, and empower new user experiences, to support expanded connectivity needs for the next decade and beyond."

Said Rajan S. Mathews, Director General, COAI: "The new standards finalised by 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) and this meeting of experts will enable Indian telcos to transition to new technologies while ensuring that the demands of various sectors are well met."

The 3GPP is a mobile communication industry collaboration that organises and manages the standards and development of mobile communications standards.

"It develops standards for many of the mobile communications standards from GSM through UMTS and LTE to 5G now," the COAI said in a statement.

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