GP, Banglalink acquire spectrum for 4G
Two leading mobile operators --Grameenphone and Banglalink -- acquired 15.6 Megahertz of 4G spectrum with a price of $463.6 million in auction today.
Banglalink took 10.6 MHz spectrum from different two bands - 2100 and 1800, with a price of $308.6 million while Grameenphone took 5MHz from only 1800 band with a price of $155 million.
With the spectrum fees, operators will have to pay 10 percent extra as VAT, if the finance ministry accepts the proposal recently sent by National Board of Revenue. Otherwise, they will have to pay 15 percent VAT on two of the spectrum charge.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) organised the long pending auction with a target to collect Tk 11,000 crore ($1340 million).
The second largest mobile operator,Robi, did not participated in the auction as they thought their existing spectrum will be enough for offering 4G services.
The state-owned Teletalk earlier declined to apply to sit in the spectrum auction.
The auction was held at Dhaka club in the city.
The telecom regulator will finally hand over the much-awaited 4G licence to Grameenphone, Robi, Banglalink, and Teletalk on February 20.
The licence fee for the fourth generation network technology, which promises the fastest data speed from mobile devices, is Tk 10 crore.
All the operators are technically ready to roll out the service, so once they officially get the licences they can offer it to their subscribers.
A good number of customers of Grameenphone, Robi, and Banglalink have converted their SIM cards to 4G-compatible ones, according to market sources.
Technology neutrality allows operators to offer either of 2G, 3G or 4G services from any band they see fit, a facility that helps in reducing the operational costs and improving the service quality.