The telecoms regulator decides to award five internet service providers (ISPs) licences for Long Term Evolution (LTE), an internet technology faster than the 3G
The LTE is usually known as the fourth generation or 4G to the subscribers.
Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Chairman Sunil Kanti Bose told bdnews24.com they had decided to award LTE licence to facilitate speedy internet access.
The five companies — Banglalion, Qubee, Bangladesh Internet Exchange Limited (BIEL), Mango and state-owned Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited — will have to pay Tk 2.46 billion for the licence.
BIEL, owned by Russian company Multinet has been already awarded the license and allotted 2,600 frequency bands after the company had paid the Tk 2.46 billion licence fee, said a senior BTRC official requesting anonymity.
The BTRC chief said the operators would only be able to provide data service, but not voice service as per regulations.
Telecommunications Secretary Abu Bakar Siddique said they had decided to upgrade the companies with new technology since WiMAX technology has become outdated.
BTCL will provide internet by using LTE technology through a foreign (South Korean) project.
The secretary said the funding for frequency or licence will come from the foreign project.
Mobile phone operators had been opposing award of LTE licence and frequency to the broadband internet service providers (ISPs).
They allege WiMAX operators are being provided modern technology at a very lower price (2600 bands) whereas they had to take frequency allocation through 3G auction paying $20 million ( 2100 bands) per megahertz for 3G.
The BTRC chief said the internet service providers were being given licence by adhering to regulations so the mobile operators need not to worry about loss.
Banglalion and Qubee were awarded WiMAX licence at Tk 2.15 billion in 2008 through an auction.
There is no need of LTE auction after the amendment to Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) guideline in October.
The government can provide licence and frequency following the application of an internet service provider after examining whether it qualifies for it.
Nine ISPs took part in the 2008 auction. Of them Banglalion and Qubee took the licence and others except Mango withdrew their earnest money.
BTRC decided to provide the LTE licence to Mango based on the previous auction.
Source: Bd news24