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5 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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BTRC to award 4G licence Feb 14

STAFF REPORTER
BTRC to award 4G licence Feb 14

With a view to introducing much-awaited 4G service in the country, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) will award 4G licence to the mobile operators on February 14.

Before awarding the licences, the BTRC will organise a spectrum auction on February 13,

BTRC took the decision in a meeting yesterday and invited application from the operators. The interested operators will have to submit their applications within January 14 to attend the auction.

BTRC Secretary and Spokesperson Sarwar Alam said the commission at a special meeting approved the 4G/LTE Licencing Guidelines and auction roadmap for 2100 MHz, 1800 MHz and 900 MHz spectrum bands.

“As per the roadmap, BTRC has now invited application from the mobile phone operators to participate in the spectrum auction,” he added.

Mobile phone operators, however, yesterday sent a letter to the BTRC stating their concerns regarding five issues in amended 4G guideline. The five issues include spectrum and tech neutrality fees, speed of 4G, fiber network, resolution of VAT issue.

“It is a major concern for us that the draft guideline has not yet been shared with the operators. It will be immensely difficult to recommend to our shareholders to acquire a license or participate in an auction without a thorough consultation process of the guidelines. If the guidelines are published and conditions remain ominous or unfavorable, it will cause an unwarranted embarrassment, if business decision to acquire a licence or acquire spectrum cannot be reached,” the letters reads.

A senior official of BTRC told The Independent that the commission received a letter which contains the concerns of the mobile phone operators.

Officials said BTRC announced the 4G/LTE Licencing Guidelines and spectrum auction roadmap in less than a week after getting the final nod from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Tarana Halim on November 29 revealed the clearance of the Prime Minister, who is also in charge of the ministry of posts, telecommunications and information technology.

Submission of the queries (if any) is on December 19 while pre-bid meeting will be held on December 21. On the other hand, BTRC will publish the list of qualified applicants for the auction on January 25 while consultation on auction procedure will take place on Jan 29, while date for submission of bid earnest money is on February 5, for letter of acceptance/rejection to participate in the bidding is February 7 and mock auction will be held on February 13.

Besides, the telecom regulator will announce the name of winning operators on February 14.

BTRC has also invited application from new entrant (operators) who will obtain technology neutral spectrum for cellular mobile phone services.

However, the new entrant will be eligible to participate in the 2100 MHz spectrum auction subject to their success during primary evaluation of the application.

The winning new entrant in the auction of 2100 MHz band, if any, will be eligible to participate in the auction of 1800 MHz and 900 MHz bands to operate as cellular mobile phone services operators to provide 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE services having respective license.

Earlier on September 20, Tarana Halim made public the 4G/LTE Licensing Guidelines and announced of holding spectrum auction for 4G service in last November keeping room for a new mobile phone operator.

But, the mobile phone operators in the country expressed their concern for a total of 23 issues of the guidelines such as price of spectrum conversion fee, users data preservation etc, and requested the government to reconsider those issues.

Later, Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy in a meeting at posts and telecommunications division solved all the issues.

One of the demands of the operators was to cut down the price of spectrum for technological neutrality, which will empower them to deliver better service quality. They asked for it to be slashed to $4 million per megahertz of spectrum from $7.5 million.

In case of the conversion in one go, the charge will be $ 4 million for each 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz, while it will be $ 7.5 million for converting partly, as per the revised decision.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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