The telecom regulator has turned down a proposal of mobile operator Robi to transfer 80 percent of its network infrastructure assets to Edotco Group, a subsidiary of Malaysian Axiata Group, which is also the majority shareholder of the local operator.
As a result, an investment of more than $120 million in Robi has become uncertain, officials of the operator said.
The network infrastructure or non-telecom equipment is passive infrastructure that includes towers, buildings, batteries, and power and cooling systems.
Two years ago, Robi formed Edotco Bangladesh Co Ltd (e.co) as its subsidiary, and sought the approval from Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission in February this year to transfer 80 percent of Edotco Bangladesh's equity shares to Edotco Group.
The regulator observed that Robi would lose control over its infrastructure if the equity shares are transferred to the Malaysian company, said Md Abdus Samad, commissioner of the legal and licensing division of the BTRC.
The 'character' of Edotco Bangladesh will be changed if the shares are transferred, according to the minutes of a recent meeting of the BTRC.
The regulator also decided to prepare a guideline on passive infrastructure service after discussion with the operators. “We will wait until the guideline is ready,” said Mohiuddin Babar, the spokesperson for Robi.