CHATSWOOD, New South Wales: Vodafone, the mobile telecoms provider, is set to merge its Australian operations with that of its counterpart Hutchison Whampoa, as the two companies seek to take on the market's major players, Telstra and SingTel.

Vodafone and Hutchinson are currently ranked third and fourth respectively in the Australian mobile market, and the newly-combined entity will enjoy a market share of 26%, compared with Telstra's 42% and SingTel's 32%.

The new venture will use Vodafone's branding, and under the terms of the deal, Hutchinson, which is the smaller of the two companies, will pay around A$500m ($334m; €257m; £227m) to its new partner.

Australia's competition authorities will need to agree to the tie-up, which could ultimately generate around A$2bn worth of cost savings to the two firms.

Vodafone's chief executive, Vittorio Colao, said of the deal: "This transaction will benefit customers in Australia as it creates a company with the necessary scale to compete strongly in the mobile market."

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff