Mobilink-Warid merger gets regulatory approval

23 Mar 2016

Pakistan’s competition regulator has approved a proposed merger between mobile operators Mobilink and Warid Telecom – but only if they agree to abide by certain conditions.

Following an evaluation of the expected impact on the sector of the merger, the Competition Commission of Pakistan has agreed to allow the merger if the operators agree to comply with its proposed remedies, The News International reported.

Conditions include agreeing to make spectrum sharing obligatory if telecom regulator PTA determines capacity is being inefficiently or underutilized, and giving operators currently sharing the operators’ tower infrastructure the option to buy the mobile sites they are using.

The combined company would also have to agree to provide wholesale access to its mobile network to potential MVNOs.

Mobilink would meanwhile have to agree to create an operational firewall between it and Warid parent Abu Dhabi Group’s other telecom businesses.

Mobilink is Pakistan’s largest mobile operator with an estimated 37.5 million customers, while Warid is the smallest of the nation’s five operators with around 10.9 million subscribers. The combined company would have a market share of 37.3%.

Mobilink parent company Vimpelcom announced in November last year that it has arranged to acquire a 100% stake in Warid Telecom in exchange for Warid shareholders receiving a 15% stake in Mobilink.

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