May 21, 2009

Banglalink and Aktel in merger talks

Mobile operators Banglalink and AKTEL are in talks for a possible merger in an aggressive bid to grab a substantial market share of Bangladesh's 46 million market, giving a hint that the number of operators will come down in the already saturated six-operator market. The merger issue was disclosed by Orascom Telecom Holdings Chairman Naguib Sawiris recently, when he talked with journalists on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Jordan, according to media reports.

Orascom Telecom Holdings is the owning company of local Banglalink, which is yet to break even after holding the market's second largest position with 10.90 million customers as of April 2009. Banglalink's probable consolidation partner AKTEL has the third position in the market with 8.83 million subscribers as of April.
If the expected merger happens, the new operator's market share will be around 45 percent in terms of accumulated customers of 19.73 million. Talks of merger, Type rest of the post hereacquisition or a new partnership in the telecom industry surfaced over the last few years, as most operators have failed to gain profitability. Only Grameenphone now enjoys break-even. AKTEL remained profitable until the end of 2007. But then the company became a losing concern even after having a new partnership with Japanese NTT DoCoMo at the end of 2008.

Meanwhile Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has no proposal on its table of merging mobile-phone operators Banglalink and AKTEL. "We have not got any such proposal yet. There is no bar here (to merge Banglalink with AKTEL) if the subscribers do not face any problem," the telecoms watchdog chairman Zia Ahmed told on Thursday.

However, the impact of this merger may affect the fate of many people associated with this two company. There is always a risk of job cut while this type of merger happens. So mobile companies must not take such measure so that they become profitable at the cost of human values rather than take decisions for all concerning party to be benefited.


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