Mobile operator Robi plans to transfer 80 percent of its network infrastructure assets to Edotco (e.co) Group, a fully owned subsidiary of Malaysian Axiata Group that manages telecom towers.
The network infrastructure or non-telecom equipment is passive infrastructure that includes towers, buildings, batteries, power, and cooling systems. Axiata is the majority shareholder of Robi.
Robi sought approval from Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to transfer its shares to Edotco Group in February, while the rest 20 percent stake will remain with Robi.
Robi seeks to transfer 80 percent equity shares in its subsidiary Edotco Bangladesh to Malaysia's Edotco Group, fully owned by Axiata, according to a letter to BTRC.
Globally, mobile operators are outsourcing infrastructure to minimise costs, which was introduced in Bangladesh by e.co, according to market analysts.
Md Abdus Samad, commissioner of the legal and licensing division of BTRC, said the proposal to transfer the shares of Robi was presented at a meeting but the commission has given some observations to re-examine the matter.
The commission wants to examine whether the share transfer will affect the subsidiary characteristics of the company, he said.
The regulator observes that Robi will lose its control over infrastructure after 80 percent shares are transferred to the Malaysian company. The matter will be discussed soon at a meeting at BTRC, Samad said. Supun Weerasinghe, managing director and chief executive of Robi, said to The Daily Star in a statement, “Discussions with BTRC are ongoing so we prefer to refrain from commenting at this stage.”