BTRC opens bids for 4G licence, spectrum auction

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission on Monday invited applications from eligible entities for awarding 4G licences and published schedule for auction of three bands of spectrum, seeking bids from eligible firms.
The moves of the telecom regulator came following a decision made by the commission at a special meeting held in its office on Monday, a senior official of the commission told New Age.
The telecom regulator on Monday published the invitations for 4G licence and spectrum auction on its web site, which would be published in national dailies today.
Processes for awarding 4G licence and spectrum auction will go simultaneously as providing 4G mobile phone services is related to spectrum capacity of the operators.
BTRC officials, however, said that the operators would be able to give 4G services after getting licence as the commission has already allowed technology neutrality facility for the 2100 MHz band.
The operators, however, would not be able to give 4G services in 1800 MHz and 900 MHz bands without getting technology neutrality facility, they said.
In case of spectrum conversion in one go, the charge will be $4 million for each MHz spectrum in 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz bands, while it will be $7.5 million for converting partly.
Under the initiative, 25 MHz of spectrum is available in 2100 MHz band, 36 MHz of spectrum in 1800 MHz band and 6.8 MHz in 900 MHz band for auction.
Non-purchase of any new spectrum would ultimately result in poor service quality, they also said.
The telecom regulator would consider application of any new eligible entity, if it can fulfil criteria set by the government under the 4G guidelines and spectrum auction guidelines.
As per the guidelines on 4G service licence issuance, application fee for 4G licence has been set at Tk 5 lakh and the licence acquisition fee at Tk 10 crore.
As per the commission decision, spectrum auction is scheduled to be held on February 13, 2018, while the interested entities will have to submit their expression of interest within January 14.
A list of eligible applicants would be disclosed by the commission on January 25 based on evaluation.
February 5 has been set as the deadline for submission of bid earnest money to participate in the auction.
As per the guidelines, applicants will have to deposit Tk 150 crore in bid earnest money to participate in the auction of each of the three bands.
The bid earnest money will be adjusted with the spectrum assignment fee, while the money will be returned within 30 days to the unsuccessful candidates.
Winning applicants will have to clear 60 per cent of the spectrum assignment fee within 30 days, while the rest 40 per cent of the fee will have to be cleared in four years in four equal instalments.
The base prices of per megahertz spectrum in 2100 MHz, 1800 MHz and 900 MHz were sent at $27 million, $30 million and $30 million respectively.
After holding the spectrum auction, the commission will issue notification letters in favour of the winning applicants on February 14.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina, also the minister for the posts and telecommunications, on November 29 this year approved the revised guidelines on the 4G mobile phone services, addressing all the concerns raised by the mobile network operators on the draft guidelines.
As per the new guidelines, the operators will have to store subscribers’ usage data only for 2 years, which was set at 12 years earlier.
The operators will have to share 5.5 per cent of their revenues to be generated from 4G services with the telecom regulator and the percentage will remain the same for the next 15 years.

Source: News Age.

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