The merger, first of its kind in the country, was approved at a regular meeting of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on Tuesday.
Now the two companies will run as a single entity under the name Robi, with the second largest subscriber base in Bangladesh, sources told the Dhaka Tribune.
Robi Axiata currently has over 26 million subscribers while Airtel has nearly 10 million, according to BTRC data.
Welcoming the merger approval, BTRC Chairman Dr Shahjahan Mahmood said the merger would bring a positive change for the industry.
The management of Robi hopes that the merger will be complete by the end of this year.
Earlier on August 31, the High Court approved the amalgamation of the two mobile phone giants in the country.
Following the High Court's approval, Robi Axiata's Chief Corporate and People Officer Matiul Nowshad said: “This approval strengthens our ability to contribute to the process of realising the government’s vision of Digital Bangladesh at a much greater scale. As a customer-centric company, we are excited by the prospect of serving a larger subscriber base with vastly enhanced network capacity.”
The merger was signed by Malaysia-based Axiata Group Berhad and India-based Bharti Airtel Ltd in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in January. At the end of last year, the two operators applied to the BTRC to merge their companies in Bangladesh.
Upon completion of the merger process, Robi Axiata Ltd will hold 68.3% controlling stake in the company, while Airtel’s parent company Bharti Airtel will hold 25% stake. The remaining 6.7% stake will be held by NTT Docomo of Japan, another shareholder of Robi Axiata.
Robi and Airtel will have to fulfil some conditions mandated by the High Court as well as the conditions precedent defined in the merger agreement.
After the merger, Robi will have to pay a merger fee of Tk100 crore and the spectrum fee of Tk507 crore to the government.
Apart from the merger fee, the Post and Telecommunication Division has also fixed the 2G spectrum fee at Tk33.8 crore per megahertz, a BTRC official said.
The merger and spectrum fees were finalised at an inter-ministerial meeting chaired by Finance Minister AMA Muhith on July 13.