Bangladesh mulls new charges for Robi-Airtel merger

telecomasia.net

Bangladesh's government is reportedly considering charging the entity created through the merger of Robi Axiata and Bharti Airtel's local subsidiary an additional 5 billion taka ($63.9 million) in spectrum usage fees.

A senior official of the telecom division told the nation's Daily Star newspaper that the additional fee would be for allowing the new entity to use Airtel's existing 1800-MHz spectrum.

According to the report, the additional fee would be aimed at adjusting spectrum prices with those in 2011, when Robi and other operators paid for 15-year spectrum licenses. The price was higher than the equivalent fee Airtel paid for its 1800-MHz license in 2005, and the additional charge reflects this.

The government has also proposed imposing additional charges and fees associated with the merger.

Robi Axiata and Airtel Bangladesh agreed in January to merge their operations to create the market's second largest operator after Grameenphone. Axiata will hold a controlling 68.3% in the new company, Airtel will own 25% and the remaining 6.7% will be held by NTT DoCoMo.

Parent companies Axiata and Bharti Airtel are reportedly also considering combining their operations in Sri Lanka.

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