Robi can make merger payment in three installments

Dhaka,  Thu,  27 October 2016
Published : 19 Oct 2016, 21:51:46

Robi can make merger payment in three installments

Robi can make merger payment in three installments
Mobile phone operator Robi has been given the scope of three installments instead of four it sought to make payment to the government of merger fee and merged spectrum price, reports BSS.

The telecom regulator, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), took the decision in a regular commission meeting Tuesday while giving its final nod to the much awaited amalgamation of two mobile phone operators Robi and Airtel.

Robi sought to pay the merger and merged spectrum fees in four installments in next three years.

BTRC Chairman Dr Shahjahan Mahmood told the news agency that they had some observations about the payment but they are "minor".

He expressed the hope the amalgamation would bring "positive impact" to the telecom industry.

According to the BTRC officials, Robi has to pay 49 per cent of the total payment in the first installment, 29 per cent in the second installment and the remaining 22 per cent in the third installment.

They said the regulator has taken the decision in line with the 2G licensing renewal guideline.

The government has fixed Tk 1.0 billion (100 crore) as merger fee while Tk 338 million as fee for each megahertz of Airtel's 2G spectrum that the merged entity will use over the next four years.

Currently, Airtel is using 15 MHz spectrum for 2G services. Of the spectrum, 10 MHz is on the 1,800 MHz band and 5MHz on the 900 MHz band.

According to the government decision, if the merged entity decides to leave behind any spectrum it has to be from the 900 MHz band.

On August 21, the High Court approved the country's first ever merger proposal of two mobile phone operators, ordering completion of the process within next one month.

Robi and Airtel opened talks on a possible merger at the end of August, 2015, and on January 28, the operators' parent companies signed a deal to that effect. If merged, the entity will be the second largest operator in Bangladesh.

Airtel entered Bangladesh in 2010 by acquiring a 70 per cent stake in Warid Telecom. Later in 2013, it picked up the remaining 30 per cent.

Robi started operations in 1997 under the brand name of Aktel; in 2008 it was rebranded as Robi. The operator renewed its licence in 2011 after completing its first 15-year tenure.

In the merged entity, Axiata, the parent company of Robi, will hold a 68.7 per cent controlling stake. Bharti Airtel will hold a 25 per cent share and Axiata's old partner NTT Docomo of Japan 6.3 per cent. Currently, Malaysia-based Axiata has a 91.59 per cent stake in Robi and NTT Docomo 8.41 per cent.
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