Indian operator pushes ahead with merger deal that will increase its share of the mobile market to more than 27%.

Bharti Airtel’s shareholders will meet next month to discuss the mobile operator’s proposed merger with rival Telenor.

The Indian telco has called a meeting for 19 September, it revealed in a stock exchange filing on Thursday.

The meeting "is for the purpose of considering, and if thought fit, approving with or without modification, the proposed scheme of amalgamation between Telenor (India) and Bharti Airtel," the operator said.

India’s largest mobile operator agreed to acquire Telenor’s local unit for an undisclosed sum in February, attracted particularly by the smaller player’s 1800-MHz spectrum holdings.

The deal will also give Bharti Airtel’s subscriber base a boost.

According to figures published by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday, Telenor had 47.3 million mobile customers across six telecom circles at the end of June.

The addition of those customers gives Bharti a 328 million-strong subs base at the same date, increasing its share of the market to 27.6%, up four percentage points on its current figure.

Not only does the increase give Bharti some – temporary – breathing room ahead of second-placed Vodafone, which claimed 17.9% of the market at the end of June, but it also helps to protect it from the onslaught of Reliance Jio Infocomm.

Fourth-largest player Reliance Jio is by far the fastest-growing mobile operator in India, adding more than 6 million customers in June alone, compared with Bharti Airtel’s 2 million.

The Bharti Airtel/Telenor tie-up recently gained the approval of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), and the National Stock Exchange (NSE).

Nonetheless, Vodafone looks set to overtake Bharti as India’s biggest mobile operator due its plan to merge with number three operator Idea Cellular, which had a market share of 16.5% at end-June.