Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday directed state-owned mobile operator Teletalk to find a foreign company for merger so that it could get investment.
‘To become a competitive player in the market, the prime minister gave an order to Teletalk to search for an appropriate foreign company for merging with it and offer better services to the customers,’ planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal told reporters after a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council in Dhaka.
Chaired by Hasina, the meeting at the NEC conference room also approved a telecom ministry’s proposal to allocate Tk 675 crore for a project on expansion of Teletalk’s network.
Teletalk will get the money from the government as equity supply and the company will return the money from its earnings.
Earlier, on April 13, state minister for posts and telecommunications Tarana Halim said that Teletalk would face difficulty in retaining existing customers if necessary investment was not made for its development, especially network expansion.
Teletalk, which started its journey in 2005, is currently in the fourth position in the mobile service market with only 37.33 lakh subscribers after the merger of third largest operator Robi and fourth largest operator Airtel.
Leading operator Grameenphone has 5.9 crore subscribers while Banglalink has 3.13 crore, Robi has 2.7 crore and Airtel has 82.19 lakh. The operation of Citycell has virtually remained suspended.
Teletalk has now a total of 3,700 base transceiver stations (BTSs) for 2G and 3G operation.
Mentioning that another 100 BTSs would be added soon, Tarana said ‘it does not seem understandable to me that how Teletak would compete in the market where the top operator has 12,000 BTSs.’
Tarana during a visit to India in January sought Indian company Tata Communications’ investment in Teletalk. She also sought Malaysian investment in the mobile company.
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