The Department of Telecom (DoT) has approved Bharti Infratel’s mega-merger deal with Indus Towers, reports stated on Saturday.

The merger of the two companies will pave the way for the largest telecom tower company in the world outside China. Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers will create a pan-India tower company with over 1,63,000 towers, operating across all 22 telecom service areas across India.

“DoT has approved merger of Indus Towers with Bharti Infratel,” a PTI report quoted an anonymous official as saying.

Today’s announcement may come as a relief for beleaguered Vodafone Idea to raise funds to clear a massive chunk of its AGR dues to the government.

Bharti Infratel and Vodafone hold 42 percent stake each in Indus. Vodafone Idea holds 11.15 percent stake in the mobile tower firm.

As per the plans, the combined company, which would fully own the respective businesses of Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers, would change its name to Indus Towers Ltd. and will continue to be listed on Indian stock exchanges.

(With input from agencies)