JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia on Tuesday approved a $6 billion merger of telco units of Qatar's Ooredoo and Hong Kong's CK Hutchison and set a deadline of 2025 for the merged entity to ramp up its services, its communication minister said.
CK Hutchison Holdings and Ooredoo announced in September the deal, which will make the merged entity, Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison, the country's second biggest telecoms company after state-backed Telkomsel.
The government has already given the merger a principal approval in November.
After the merger, Indosat must increase its tower sites by at least 11,400 by 2025 and expand its cellular services to cover a minimum of 7,660 more villages or districts by 2025, minister Johny G. Plate said in a news conference.
It must also improve its service quality by increasing download and upload throughput by at least 12.5% by 2025, he said.
Indosat has to also return 5 megahertz spectrum to the state within a year after Tuesday's approval, he said.
"We hope the national telecoms industry will be ... more productive and efficient to support the national digital transformation," the minister said, adding that the merger would strengthen the capital structure of Indosat.
Vikram Sinha, a director with Indosat, told the conference the company is committed to meet the requirements set by the government.
(Reporting by Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)