Mobile phone operator Robi on Sunday paid the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission Tk 318 crore in partial fees and charges for the merger with another operator Airtel.
In total, the company will have to pay Tk 407 crore as fees and charges, excluding 15 per cent VAT.
The telecom regulator chairman, Shahjahan Mahmood, told New Age on Sunday, ‘We’ve received a total of Tk 318 crore from Robi today as merger fees and spectrum adjustment charges.’
There is still time for Robi to pay the rest of the amount, he said.
‘The company can also take instalment option to make future payments,’ Shahjahan said.
The BTRC chairman, however, said that there was a disagreement about the value-added tax of the total payment which needed to be sorted out.
Robi and Airtel started their journey as a merged company on November 17.
Earlier, the government set Tk 607 crore as merger fees and charges for the Robi-Airtel merger of which Tk 100 crore is merger fee and Tk 507 crore is spectrum adjustment price.
Currently, Airtel has 15MHz spectrum on 1800 or 2G band and if Robi acquires the entire lot, the spectrum adjustment price will be Tk 507 crore.
As per BTRC condition, Robi has decided to return 5MHz spectrum of the 900 band currently held by Airtel that lowered the spectrum adjustment price to Tk 307 crore.
The price for each MHz of 900 band was set at Tk 10 crore for each year and the Airtel spectrum has still four years of validity.
According to a BTRC letter sent to Robi on October 26, the operator will have to pay all fees related to the merger within 30 days of issuances of the letter.
The BTRC, however, said that if the company failed to pay the entire amount within the stipulated time, then there would be an option to pay the money in three instalments but with 15 per cent late fees.
In that case, Robi has to pay 49 per cent of the fees within 15 days of issuance of the letter as first instalment, said the BTRC letter.
The next instalment of 29 per cent has to be paid in next one year and another 22 per cent in the following year.
Malaysia-based Robi, the third largest mobile operator in Bangladesh, and India-based Airtel in September 2015 announced that their Bangladesh operations would be merged and they signed an agreement on January 29 in this connection.
Robi’s parent company Axiata, Axiata Investment (Labuan), will hold 68.3 per cent controlling stake in the combined entity, while Bharti International Singapore will hold 25 per cent and the remaining 6.7 per cent will be held by NTT DOCOMO of Japan.
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