The British telecom giant said Monday it’s merging its Indian operations with those of local competitor Idea Cellular after months of talks.

Vodafone will own a stake of about 45% in the new business, sharing control with Idea’s owner, the Aditya Birla Group.

The deal will give both companies a leg up in India’s cut-throat telecom market.

The entry of new player Reliance Jio last year — bankrolled by India’s richest man who offered six months of free 4G internet — set off a price war that left Vodafone, Idea and industry leader Bharti Airtel scrambling. Last November, Vodafone reported a $ 5 billion loss in India as a result.

Monday’s deal will allow the U.K.-based firm to reduce its exposure to the troubled Indian business, it said.

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