4:42 pm - Friday January 18, 2656

BTRC proposes floor price for spectrum auction

The Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has proposed USD 30 million for per megahertz as the starting price in the forthcoming auction for the 1,800 MHz band. The regulator has also proposed USD 22 million per megahertz in the 2,100 MHz band, which the operators currently use for 3G service. The proposals were sent to the telecom ministry recently for approval, The Daily Star reports.

btrcBangladesh will soon cross the 120 million mark in mobile subscriptions, but the quality of services is not satisfactory, as the operators are running with inadequate spectrum. During the 2G licence renewal process over three years ago, the government sold the 1,800 MHz band at USD 28.2 million per 1 MHz to Grameenphone. Banglalink, Robi and Citycell paid less for the spectrum due to a controversial and asymmetric pricing policy.

The BTRC has proposed the auction in three rounds, namely two in the 1,800 MHz band and one in the 2,100 MHz band. The government has 10.6 MHz spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band for sale. The 1800 MHz spectrum has been divided into two blocks, of 5 MHz and 5.6 MHz. An operator will be allowed to purchase only one block in the 1800 band, and two blocks of 5 MHz each in the 2100 MHz band.

Any operator with more than 20 MHz spectrum in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands will not be able to participate in the first round of the auction for 5 MHz in the 1800 band. Grameenphone has 22 MHz in the two bands. The operators who get 5 MHz spectrum in the first round of the auction will not be allowed to take part in the second round, in which Grameenphone will participate.

Munir Hasan, a director of Grameenphone, said that Grameenphone is yet to receive the guideline of the auction, but the proposed auction process is discriminatory. A level playing field should be created, he added.

 -Telecom Paper