Robi is set to transfer 31.01 percent of edotco Bangladesh's shares back to edotco Group as the Malaysian tower management company looks to get a full licence to run its operations in the country.
As per the draft tower company guideline, an entity having a relation with a mobile phone or WiMAX operator cannot apply for a full licence. Before the share transfer, Robi held 51 percent of edotco Bangladesh's shares.
At present, edotco manages over 7,500 towers of the six mobile companies operating in Bangladesh on the confidence of a no-objection certificate from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.
Now with the share transfer, edotco Group will hold 80.01 percent shares of edotco Bangladesh and Robi the remaining 19.99 percent shares.
BTRC officials said the fact that Robi would still be holding 19.99 percent share in edotco Bangladesh will make it ineligible to apply for the tower licence. The government plans to award two tower management licences to independent companies by the year-end.
Unless changes are made to the draft guideline, the chances of edotco Bangladesh getting one of the licences are slim, said a BTRC official.
The draft guideline also said foreign tower management companies must have a local partner and will not be allowed to operate on their own. The BTRC was informed about the ownership restructuring of edotco on July 20 in a letter signed by Supun Weerasinghe, chief executive officer of Robi.
edotco Bangladesh was established in June 2013 with an objective of providing communications infrastructure services to customers, according to its website.
Its product offerings include a complete range of site portfolios from ground-based sites, rooftop towers, in-building solutions, cellular-on-wheel, custom-built sites and solar energy.
Both Robi and edotco Group are owned by Malaysian company Axiata Berhad.