BTRC to sit with four operators for Robi-Airtel merger tomorrow
07 February 2016, Nirapad News: Telecom regulator is going to sit with the cellular phone operators tomorrow over the country’s first ever merger of two operators –Robi and Airtel Bangladesh.
To this end, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) today sent letters to four cellular phone operators inviting them for discussion.
BTRC Senior Assistant Director (Legal and Licensing) S M Golam Sarwar sent the letters to the Chief Executive Officers of Grameenphone, Banglalink and Citycell as well as Managing Director of state-owned operator Teletalk, said officials.
Three representatives from each operator could attend the meeting with BTRC Chairman, Commissioners and concerned officials. The telecom regulator has taken the move as Robi and Airtel have expressed their interest to merge their operation in Bangladesh.
Talking to BSS, Gias Uddin Ahmed, Managing Director of Teletalk, said they have received the letter and will attend the discussion over the merger.
Echoing the Teletalk Managing Director, Mahmud Hossain, Head of Corporate Affairs at the Grameenphone, they were also invited to take part in the discussion.
Moreover, the telecom regulator is going to hold public hearing over the merger of Robi and Airtel on February 17 where government/semi-government/autonomous organizations, telecommunication service providing firms, cell phone user, Bangladesh consumer association and related professionals as well as any person could take part.
Meanwhile, Robi and Airtel on January 28 signed an agreement to merge their operations that will make the combined entity the second largest mobile phone operator in Bangladesh.
The agreement follows the September 09, 2015 announcement of both the parties on entering into an exclusive discussion to explore possibilities of combining their business operations in Bangladesh.
The merger is now just waiting for the approval from Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.
After merger, the combined entity will operate under the brand Robi, and will serve approximately 40 million customers. It will have the second largest subscribers’ base in the country. Grameenphone, the market leader, has 55 million subscribers while Banglalink in second position with 35 million subscribers.
At present, Robi is the number three mobile operator in Bangladesh in terms of number of subscribers, but the second largest in terms of revenue. Airtel is the fourth largest operator in terms of subscribers and revenue.
Airtel launched operation in Bangladesh in 2010 by acquiring 70 percent stake of Warid Telecom, and then took over the remaining 30 percent in 2013.
Robi started operation in 1997 under the brand name of AKTEL. The operator renewed licence in 2011 after completing its first 15-year tenure.