* Merger combines 3rd and 4th-largest U.S. landline firms
* Deal still requires FCC approval
WASHINGTON, July 16 (Reuters) - CenturyTel Inc (CTL.N) has won U.S. antitrust approval to buy Qwest Communications International Inc Q.N, the Federal Trade Commission said on Friday.
The $10.6 billion stock deal must also be approved by the Federal Communications Commission.
Qwest is the third-largest U.S. landline phone company, and CenturyTel is No. 4. The combination was on a list of approved deals released by the FTC.
The deal comes as more consumers unplug their home phones and go wireless, leaving CenturyTel and its rivals to turn to mergers to support their long-term viability.
CenturyTel, which is changing its name to CenturyLink, became the fourth-largest U.S. telephone company when it bought Embarq last year. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; editing by John Wallace)