Robi makes first payment on merger | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 21, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 21, 2016

Robi makes first payment on merger

Robi deposited Tk 318.52 crore to the telecom regulator yesterday as merger fees and spectrum charges.

The company will have to pay an additional Tk 108.83 crore in two instalments, said a senior official of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission. The deadline for the two instalments has not been mentioned.

Of the total dues, merger fees account for Tk 100 crore, spectrum charges Tk 307 crore and Tk 20.35 crore in value-added tax.

Robi Chief Executive Officer Md Mahtab Uddin Ahmed handed over the cheque to BTRC Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood at his office yesterday, said an official of the regulator.

On Wednesday, the merged entity received approval from the Office of the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms.

Earlier, Robi and Airtel got approvals from the government, the High Court and finally, from BTRC.

In 2005, Airtel, then Warid, bought the spectrum in the 1,800 band at a cheap price, and BTRC now adjusted the price to the level in 2011.

Airtel had 5 MHz spectrum in the 900 band, but according to the telecom regulator's decision, the merged entity will not be able to use it. The spectrum will come back to BTRC.

Airtel's 5MHz spectrum in the 2,100 band will automatically merge with Robi without any fee, as the operators paid the same amount of money for it for 3G services.

The parent companies of Robi and Airtel opened talks on a possible merger at the end of August 2015, and a deal was signed on January 28.

In the merged entity, Axiata, the parent company of Robi, will hold a 68.7 percent controlling stake.

Bharti Airtel will hold a 25 percent share in the company and Axiata's old partner NTT DOCOMO of Japan 6.3 percent. Currently, Malaysia-based Axiata had a 91.59 percent stake in Robi and NTT Docomo 8.41 percent.

Robi has 2.32 crore active customers as of August, according to the BTRC and became the second largest operator in the country, both in terms of subscribers and revenues.

The combined entity will serve about 3.22 crore subscribers.

As of August, Grameenphone's total active connections stood at 5.45 crore and Banglalink's 2.9 crore, according to BTRC.

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