Competition Commission reportedly gives operators unconditional approval for tie-up.

Vodafone India and Idea Cellular received a boost to their $23 billion merger plan this week after the Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved the deal.

Idea made the disclosure in a stock exchange filing late on Monday.

"The transaction is expected to close during calendar year 2018 subject to customary approvals," the company said.

According to an Economic Times report earlier on Monday, the CCI’s support for the transaction is unconditional.

Vodafone and Idea agreed to join forces in March.

The tie-up will create a mobile giant with 1,850 MHz of spectrum and nearly 400 million customers, ramping up the pressure on market leader Bharti Airtel, which is currently on something of a shopping spree of its own.

The merger will also help Vodafone and Idea fend off the competitive threat posed by disruptive new rival, Reliance Jio Infocomm, which enjoyed rapid early growth thanks to its offer of free unlimited services for six months.

Late last week, Vodafone reported that service revenue in India for the three months to 30 June fell by 13.9% to €1.39 billion as a result of continued price competition.