|Vodafone eyes 30% stake in AKTEL|
|Thursday, 31 January 2008|
Vodafone Group, the world's largest mobile network operator by turnover, has shown interest in buying a 30 percent stake in mobile operator AKTEL in Bangladesh, the BTRC chairman said Wednesday.
After a meeting with a Vodafone delegation in Dhaka, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission chairman Manzurul Alam told reporters that they had discussed two proposals—investment in the mobile sector as a whole and purchasing a share of a local mobile operator, particularly a 30 percent stake in AKTEL.
Vodafone already has a partner network agreement with Telekom Malaysia that owns 70 percent of AKTEL as a joint venture with AK Khan & Co that owns the rest of the shares.
"There is no legal barrier," the BTRC chairman said when asked whether there was any obstacle to Vodafone purchasing the 30 percent stake in AKTEL.
Vodafone Group's head of operations in US, Africa, China and India regions Gavin Darby, and director (trade and investment) Kevin Ringham, attended the meeting at the British High Commission in Dhaka Wednesday.
The BTRC chairman told reporters that any proposals were at the initial stage, and further discussions were needed. "We have notified them of the overall scenario of the telecom sector in the country so that they can know under what circumstances they may start their venture here."
"We have asked them to boost service quality and maintain international standards," Manzur said. "We also stressed telecom services for the rural people," he added.
The telecommunication sector is flourishing gradually in South Asia, with Bangladesh as one of the five top countries in that arena, the head of the regulatory body said.
Vodafone has a significant presence in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and the United States through the company's subsidiary undertakings, joint ventures, associated undertakings and investments.
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