The Spanish government has given its seal of approval for the proposed Orange and MásMóvil merger to go ahead.

The merger, which is expected to be worth €18.6 billion ($20.1bn), was first announced back in 2022. It will combine more than 30 million customers, forming the biggest telco in the country.

Orange Spain shop
– Getty Images

Approval from the Spanish government arrives a few weeks after the European Union's antitrust regulator approved the merger after MásMóvil agreed to divest spectrum across three frequency spectrum bands to Romania's Digi.

The deal, which will take the form of a 50:50 joint venture, will consolidate the market from four players down to three.

MVNO Digi will use the spectrum to build its own mobile network, eventually becoming a fourth operator in Spain.

Last year, the European Commission said such a deal would reduce competition and increase costs in Spain, and warned the operators would have to address a number of competition concerns before any approval is given.

Orange is the second largest telco in Spain, while MásMóvil is the fourth. Once complete, the merger company will serve more than 30 million mobile customers, and 7.3 million fixed customers

Speaking last month following approval from the EU, Orange CEO Christel Heydemann said the JV "will create a single, stronger, and more sustainable player in Spain."