No Airtel proposal yet for tower sale: BTRC

block :
Bangladesh’s telecom regulator BTRC says it is yet to receive any application from private mobile operator Airtel which is reportedly planning to sell off its tower network in the country to boost its cash reserves.
The ‘Times of India’ in a report claimed Bharti Airtel had put the company’s tower assets in Bangladesh on its divestiture list as the world’s fourth largest mobile telephony firm was seeking to raise more than $2 billion by selling its infra networks.
Sunil Kanti Bose, Chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulator Commission (BTRC), told “We have not received any such proposal or application from Airtel. I have come to know of the matter from the media.”
Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel has received offers from potential acquirers to sell its tower networks in Africa and Bangladesh in separate deals, the Indian newspaper said quoting unnamed sources in the company.
Asked what the next step would be if the BTRC got such a proposal, Bose said, “We’ll consider the matter if they apply. A decision will be taken keeping in mind existing regulations.”
He said the BTRC would take a decision after considering the telecom business in Bangladesh and other issues.
A BTRC official said an Indian organisation had recently wanted to meet the telecom regulator chief in connection of business related to tower networks.
It would be clear after the meeting whether the organisation seeking to meet Bose was interested in selling Airtel’s tower network or other issues, said the official.
He was unwilling to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media on the issue.
Bharti expects at least $200 million from divesting its 4,000-strong tower network in Airtel Bangladesh, said the Indian newspaper report citing anonymous sources with ‘knowledge of the matter.’
The telecom company currently has about 8.3 million subscribers in Bangladesh, while it boasts of a 66.3-million customer base across 17 African nations.
Bharti Airtel took full control of its mobile service operations in Bangladesh last year, buying out a 30 percent stake held by Warid Telecom, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Group.