Operators apply for clearance from India’s competition regulators.

Bharti Airtel inched closer to completing its acquisition of Telenor India on Thursday, after the deal was approved by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and National Stock Exchange (NSE) also gave their consent.

In a brief statement, Bharti Airtel said that it, and Telenor, have now applied for approval from the New Delhi Bench of the National Company Law Tribunal. The merger also requires approval from the Competition Commission of India.

Under the deal, agreed in February, Bharti Airtel will acquire 100% of Telenor’s Indian subsidiary, including its spectrum, subscribers, employees, and operations.

At the end of March, Telenor India had 50.4 million customers across the telecom circles of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujurat, Uttar Pradesh (UP) East, and UP West. It also owns spectrum in Assam.

Bharti Airtel is particularly keen on Telenor’s 43.4 MHz of 1800-MHz spectrum, saying on Thursday that it will "further bolster its strong spectrum footprint" in these seven circles. Meanwhile, the addition of Telenor’s customers will increase Bharti’s subscriber base to more than 324 million.

"These circles represent a high population concentration and therefore offer a high potential for growth," the telco added.