Telenor Pakistan reportedly has raised concerns over the proposed Mobilink-Warid merger with the county’s Competition Commission, which is reviewing the deal for regulatory approval.

Mobilink’s parent company, VimpelCom, announced in November it planned to merge its local unit with rival Warid Telecom, which would expand its market share from the current 29 per cent to about 37 per cent. Warid is the fifth largest player with 10.7 million connections and an 8 per cent market share.

The commission confirmed that Telenor complained that the merger could “negatively impact the industry”, which has faced high taxes that have curbed growth, ProPakistani reported.

After receiving Telenor’s complaint, the commission directed the country’s mobile operators not to interact with the media or issue statements about the planned merger, which is under consideration, ProPakistani said. A decision could take up to 90 days, but a source told the newspaper it likely won’t take that long.

Telenor is number two with a 27 per cent market share and 33.8 million connections, according to GSMA Intelligence. Market leader Mobilink currently has a user base of about 36 million.

If the deal is approved, it will be the country’s first merger in the telecoms sector, which has nine players serving a user base of 127 million.