BTRC invites applications for 4G licences



The regulator has invited fourth-generation (4G) mobile phone license applications to take an important step in deploying the fastest data service in Bangladesh.

The Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Bangladesh made the decision to call the mobile operators at a special meeting yesterday. He set Feb. 13 as the date for awarding spectrum.

The next day, the authority would inform those who obtained the license and whose spectrum access offers were selected.

"The granting of the license for the fastest data service will be held on February 14," said Shahjahan Mahmood, president of

order.

"We started the process of licensing and auctioning spectrum simultaneously and we expect a good result," he said after the meeting.

Interested operators will have to submit their application by January 14 for spectrum and license.

The telecommunications regulator will hold a fictional auction on February 12 before moving on to the final public sale.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved the modified 4G license and service guideline last week.

All private mobile operators have already made arrangements to launch the 4G service. They are currently working on converting SIM cards and developing the ecosystem.

The three private operators refused to comment yesterday.

However, they sent a joint letter to the regulator the same day, asking him to resolve some outstanding issues for a long time.

The letter signed by Erik Aas, CEO of Banglalink, Michael Foley, CEO of Grameenphone, and Mahtab Uddin Ahmed, CEO of Robi, was also sent to the Telecommunications Division, asking the regulator to organize a meeting to solve the problems.

But the BTRC chief said that the government had already addressed all the issues raised by operators on the 4G license and the spectrum.

"We are waiting for the enthusiastic response of mobile operators at auction," he said. "We always want to sit down with telecom operators, as these are our main strengths to achieve the Government's Bangladesh Digital Vision."

Operators will have to pay Tk 5 lakh as demand processing fee and Tk 10 crore as license fee. They will also have to pay Tk 5 crore as annual fees for the 15-year license term, according to the final guideline.

According to the directive, operators will have to deploy the 4G network across the country in 36 months.

The telecoms regulator will propose spectrum bids at 25 megahertz from the 2100 band with a floor price of $ 27 million per MHz.

For the 1800 and 900 bands, the floor price was set at $ 30 million. A spectrum of 18 MHz in the 1800 band and a spectrum of 3.4 MHz in the 900 band will go on sale.

The telecommunications regulator had already included the issue of technological neutrality in the Spectrum Directive. Now he has been separated and sent to the Ministry of Finance for further approval on the revised conversion fees.

Technological neutrality helps mobile operators to offer any service in any band. The conversion fee was previously set at $ 7.5 million per MHz and has now been revised to $ 4 million.

In the letter, operators also raised new concerns about spectrum usage fees and technology neutrality charges.

Operators have also expressed concerns about the new 4G definition, which says that the speed must be 20 Mbps under the fastest technology. The letter stated that the combined spectrum that would be available during the auction would not be enough to provide speed.

They also reiterated their concern over unresolved value-added tax issues and fiber optic networks.

The BTRC organized the 3G spectrum auction in September 2013 and the operators immediately rolled out the service.



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