Prime Minister’s Office has approved the merger proposal of mobile phone operators – Robi and Airtel, paving the way for first such initiative in Bangladesh.
“The proposal (of merger) has been cleared by the PMO today (Monday),” an official at the Posts and Telecommunications Division told the Dhaka Tribune.
In the process, the government will charge Robi Tk507 crore as spectrum fee and Tk100 crore as merger fee.
As of June this year, Robi had around 27.5m subscribers and Airtel had nearly 10m subscribers, according to the BTRC, telecom regulator.
After the merger, the company will be named as Robi and will have the second largest subscriber-base in the country.
On July 24, the Posts and Telecommunications Division sent a summary proposal to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her consent as she is also the minister of posts, telecommunications and IT.
Apart from the merger fee, the telecom division has also fixed Tk33.8 crore per megahertz as 2G spectrum fee, the official said.
An inter-ministerial meeting chaired by Finance Minister AMA Muhith finalised the merger fee and spectrum prices on July 13.
Earlier this year, the two operators signed an agreement to merge their companies in Bangladesh.
“With the PMO’s clearance, all that is left is the court’s approval as per the Company Act. The matter is expected to be placed before court on August 4 (Thursday),” BTRC counsel Barrister Mahsib Hossain said.
Upon completion of the merger process, Robi Axiata Ltd, Robi’s parent company, will hold 68.3% controlling stake in the combined entity while Airtel’s parent company Bharti Airtel will have 25% stake.
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