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Earlier, Australia blocked China based telecom equipment maker Huawei from supplying 5G telecom equipment citing security issues.

"The merger will create a more effective challenger to Telstra and Optus", TPG said in a statement on Thursday. Iñaki Berroeta, CEO of Vodafone, will take up the CEO position of the merged entity, while David Teoh, current TPG owner, will be the chairman.

The combined Australian company will be worth 10.9 billion Australian dollars ($8 billion) excluding debt. "With this merger, we will be a more formidable competitor against Telstra and Optus".

The merger will also bulk up Vodafone's 156 MHz of mobile spectrum with TPG's little-used 40 MHz slice, bringing it close to Telstra's 217 MHz (Optus is far out in front of the mobile market in spectrum holdings with 334 MHz).

The "merger of equals transaction" is how the shares have been divvied up - Vodafone shareholders will own 50.1% of the shares in the new company, and the rest 49.9% will be held by TPG shareholders.

The merger is expected to complete next year, and is dependent on shareholder and regulatory approvals.

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VHA is jointly owned by its British parent company Vodafone Group Plc and Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Limited. Vodafone will provide a guarantee on AUD 2.4 billion of this debt, lower than the AUD 3.3 billion guarantee that Vodafone now provides for VHA's debt.

From the point of view of their operations, the merger makes sense: TPG has only a tiny mobile market share, but is the number two fixed broadband provider (with 1.9 million subscribers).

In parallel to the merger agreement, TPG and VHA have signed a separate joint venture agreement in order to participate together in the upcoming spectrum auction and manage their spectrum licences. Vodafone has a sizeable mobile network with a mobile customer base of approximately 6 million subscribers as of June 2018.

The companies also stated that "there are no changes now planned to any of the existing brands of either TPG or VHA".

TPG is being advised by Macquarie Capital and Herbert Smith Freehills, while Vodafone Hutchison is being advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank AG and Norton Rose Fulbright.

"The combination of our two highly complementary businesses and talented employees will create a more sustainable company, with enhanced capacity to invest in new technology and innovation", she said.