It’s been five months since it was announced that Airtel and Tigo would be merging to form one mobile entity. But the merger deal is still in Limbo as both companies wait on the government to give approval to the merger.
Apparently, there is some anxiety by workers and executives at both companies as the government hasn’t given a timeline for when the approval for the merger will be given.
According to some government sources, there are “ a few bolts and nuts” that need to be fixed before the official announcement for processes to begin.
Double Trouble: Spectrum And License
There are some major issues to be ironed out including the issue of double spectrum and double microwave and double license being held by the two merging telcos.
Airtel and Tigo have separate licenses, which means they run on separate spectra/frequencies. With the issue of separate licenses, there is the question of which single entity will be paying for the double license and spectrum fee.
Sources say the government wants to apply international best practices by taking back one spectrum/license so that the merged entity can run on only one, but it is still not clear which of the two companies will be chosen.
According to the source, if the government does not take one of the spectra/licenses from them, it would then be forced to calculate the accrued discount and refund some money to the other telcos from what they paid for their spectra.
There is also the issues about the government’s 25% share in Airtel which was held by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), has depleted to less that 1% allegedly due to some heavy recapitalization by Airtel that was converted into equity.
Layoffs and Insecurity
One thing that seems to be certain is that some telco jobs will not be secure and layoffs are expected. It is not clear what how permanent and contract workers will be dealt with when the deal finally goes through.
Word among Airtel workers is that they want to take the retrenchment packages and leave but there is uncertainty to how much their packages will cost.
Workers are also uncertain about the future of Managing Director of Airtel, Lucy Quist, and what role she will play since the named CEO of the merged companies of Airtel and Tigo is going to be General Manager of Tigo Ghana, Roshi Motman.
Source: Adom Online