4G mobile telecom service in December: Tarana

Dhaka, Monday, 18 February 2019

4G mobile telecom service in December: Tarana

Poriborton Correspondent 3:12 pm, September 20, 2017

4G mobile telecom service in December: Tarana

Keeping room for new mobile phone operators, the auction for the spectrum of 4G (fourth generation) mobile telecom service would be held in November with a view to making the service available to people in December.  "We are working to complete the auction by the end of November and expecting to offer the 4G/LTE service from December finalizing the necessary technical procedures upon import of equipments," State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Tarana Halim said at a press conference at her ministry office here on Wednesday.

She said the government is expecting to generate Taka 11,000 crore as revenue from the spectrum and license auction. 

The government has decided to provide technology neutrality through the upcoming auction which the mobile network operators have been demanding since long, added the state minister.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has approved the 4G/LTE Guideline and spectrum auction. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) will hold the auction in 2100 Mega Hartz (MHz), 1800 MHz and 900 MHz where all the operators are eligible to participate. 

"The new operators would only be eligible to take part in the auction of 2100 MHz after meeting pre-evaluation, and then they can participate in 1800 MHz and 900 MHz bands upon the wining of 2100 MHz," disclosed Tarana.

The operators could use the spectrum of different bands for 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services due to technology neutrality, she said.

The state minister said the government has brought some changes in licensing and spectrum acquisition fees after consultations with stakeholders. 

As per the changes, base price of per MHz spectrum in 1800 band has been fixed US$ 30 million from $ 35 million while $ 7.5 million has been set for per MHz of 900 band from the proposed $ 10 million. Besides, conversion fee of per MHz spectrum has been finalized at $ 7.5 million from the proposed $ 10 million.

On the other hand, license acquisition fee has been fixed at Taka 10 crore from Taka 15 crore while annual license fee has been finalized at Taka 5 crore from the proposed Taka 7.5 crore and the revenue sharing has been set at 5.5 percent from the proposed 15 percent.

In the final guideline, Tarana Halim said, the operators have been given the scope of mobilizing fund from any local banks alongside foreign investments.

"We think we can mobilize revenue of Taka 11,000 crore from selling the spectrum, conversion fee and issuance of license," she added. 

About the roll out obligation, the state minister said 4G roll out plan has been set like 3G roll out, but "We would implement the roll out of 4G with the consultation of operators so the highest success is reaped".

Expressing her optimism for better quality of services (QoS), she said: "They (operators) didn't collect sufficient spectrum from the auction in 2013, but I think they don't do this again. So, they would provide 4G service with better QoS through this auction."

The state minister hoped all the operators will participate in the auction. "There is no scope of stinginess regarding buying spectrum. After the merger of Robi and Airtel, the market is now facing more competition, and it's time for some operators to become the number one and for some others to survive." 

Posts and Telecommunications Secretary Shyam Sunder Sikder, BTRC Commissioner Md Jahurul Haque and Director Generals Brig Gen Md Nasim Parvez and A K M Shahiduzzaman and officials concern were present.