An auction for the unused 2G and 3G spectrum will be held soon as the finance division has cleared the changed base-price proposed by the posts and telecommunications division (PTD). Currently, Banglalink has a 20 MHz spectrum with a 24.7% market share in the country.
Auction for the unused 2G and 3G spectrum would be held soon as the finance division has cleared the changed base-price proposed by the posts and telecommunications division (PTD). The finance division also fixed license and other fees for new operators, said PTD officials. Talking to BSS, PTD Secretary Faizur Rahman Chowdhury said they have received the consent of finance ministry regarding changed base prices and license fees. «We would forward the letter to the telecom regulator today or tomorrow, and Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) would decide when the auction would be held,» he added. The PTD sent a letter to the finance ministry seeking its clearance on fees, charges and conditions mentioned in the guideline in January. Now, the ministry has replied to that letter. The changed base price for the unused spectrum, both 2G and 3G, has been set at $ 25 million per megahertz, which was earlier at $ 30 million for 2G spectrum and $ 22 million for 3G spectrum. At this moment, BTRC has a total of 10.6 megahertz unused airwave in 1800MHz which is commonly known as 2G spectrum and unutilized 15MHz (5 MHz each block) airwave in 2100MHz band, also known as 3G spectrum. In February last year, BTRC formulated a guideline to sell the unutilized spectrum and set date for auction twice to sell the spectrum, but all the private operators refrained from participating in the auction. Bangladesh held 3G auction in September 2013 where four private operators bought 25 MHz at $21 million each from the 50 MHz while state-owned Teletalk was allotted 10 MHz airwave. The finance ministry, however, retained the bid earnest money for the auction set in the guideline — Taka 1.5 billion. Besides, license fee for a new operator has been fixed at Taka 100 million and annual renewal fee Taka 50 million both for 2G and 3G. Officials said the government has kept scope for new operator so BWA operators and PSTN operators could take part along with the cellular phone operators. Now, the market leader Grameenphone owns a total of 32MHz spectrum with 42.3 per cent market share while Banglalink has 20MHz spectrum with 24.7 per cent market share, Robi is serving 21.4 per cent customers with 19.8MHz spectrum and Airtel has 20MHz spectrum owning 7.6 per cent market share. The lone CDMA operator Citycell has a 2 per cent market share and lone state-owned operator Teletalk is serving 3.1 per cent customers through 25.2MHz spectrum.