Staff Correspondent The High Court (HC) on Sunday issued a rule questioning the legality of the planned merger of mobile phone operators Robi and Airtel without evaluations by the Bangladesh Competition Commission.
An HC bench comprising Justice Tariq ul Hakim and Justice Farid Ahmed Shibli passed the order after initial hearing of a petition filed by an Airtel subscriber Nazmus Sakib al Azam.
The HC asked the secretaries to the Cabinet Division, ministries for Commerce and Telecommunication, Competition Commission as well as Robi and Airtel authorities to explain it by four weeks.
Petitioners counsel Yousuf Ali said, "The approval of the merger means 96 percent of the market share will be held by three operators, which will discourage new investments and less competition will deprive consumers."
The Competition Act, formulated in 2012, stipulates the forming of a commission. A secretary has been assigned for the body but the government is yet to appoint a chief. In September this year, the mobile phone operators wrote to the telecoms regulator seeking permission for a merger.
In the letter, they said Malaysia-based Axiata Group and NTT DoCoMo Inc of Japan would have a 75 percent share and India's Bharti Airtel would retain a 25 percent share after the merger. BTRC said it would go for an impact study on the proposal.