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BTRC chief says two foreign telcos keen to get 4G licence

December 18, 2017 00:00:00

Two foreign mobile telecom operators, which are yet to launch operations in Bangladesh, have expressed their eagerness to get licence to offer 4G services and bid for spectrum, reports bdnews24.com.

BTRC Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood said on Sunday that the two foreign telecom firms discussed their eagerness to begin Bangladesh operations recently.

He declined to name the firms, saying they were yet to finalise their proposals.

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission or BTRC will auction the 4G spectrum on February 13 next year and accept applications for licences until January 14 from telecom operators to offer the fourth-generation services.

Foreign telcos had expressed their eagerness also before the 3G licence auction in 2013, but did not take part in it finally.

In May this year, the BTRC prepared a draft of the 4G spectrum allocation guidelines and sent it to the Posts and Telecommunications Division.

The commission received the guidelines with final approval by the Prime Minister's Office on November 29.

According to the guideline,

a) No auction for licence will be held. Operators can take the licence by paying fees.

b) Application fee for 4G licence has been set at Tk 500,000. Licence can be obtained at Tk 100 million and the annual licence renewal fee is Tk 50 million.

c) Applicants must submit Tk 1,500 million as bank guarantee and pay 5.5 percent of its income in revenue sharing.

d) Base price for 1800 megahertz 4G spectrum is $30 million.

e) For converting 2G and 3G services spectrums to 'technology neutral', operators must pay per megahertz.

Currently, after the merger of Robi and Airtel, four operators are providing mobile-phone services in Bangladesh. The three others are Grameenphone, Banglalink and state-owned Teletalk.

Though the BTRC had claimed most of the 23 issues raised by the operators over the 4G services had been settled, the telecom firms said their expectations were not reflected in the actions of the regulators.

Asked about the operators' claim, the BTRC chief said the regulators were holding discussions and would hold more with the operators.

"But the 4G licence distribution and spectrum auction will take place on schedule," he added.

According to the BTRC, the number of registered SIM cards in the country of 160 million people crossed 140 million and the number of internet users neared 80 million in September.

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