BTRC invites applications for mobile number portability licence
The telecom regulator yesterday invited applications for the much-awaited auction for mobile number portability licence, which will give customers the freedom to switch mobile operators without changing their existing eleven digit number.
This will help improve service quality and empower customers, said Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood.
"The option will make the market more competitive and push operators to improve their service quality to hold on to subscribers," he said.
The regulator had called an open auction for September 28 last year but it was called off.
It was then decided to use the beauty contest method, in which a committee typically sets a number of criteria, including technical offers and financial strengths.
The candidates' offers are then evaluated by a jury who selects the plan that has the best mix of those criteria. The services will be licensed to one company.
State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Tarana Halim posted on her Facebook page that it would take another six to nine months for this service to be available.A subscriber will be able to make the switch for Tk 30 and have to stay with it for at least 90 days, said officials.
The winning company, which will have to pay Tk 1 crore as bank guarantee, will get the licence for 15 years in exchange for Tk 20 lakh. It will also have to share 15 percent of its revenues with the government from the second year.
The operator must provide the service within 180 days of getting the licence or face a penalty, according to the guideline.
Companies owned by Bangladeshis, resident or non-resident, and registered in the country would be eligible for bidding. Foreign companies in partnership with Bangladeshi nationals can also take part.
A foreign company can hold a maximum 51 percent of shares but must invest in foreign currency. They will not be able to mobilise the fund from Bangladesh, the guideline added.
Interested parties will have to apply within 23 August on collecting application forms from BTRC.
The service is currently available in 72 countries, including India and Pakistan. Some operators offer it for land phones as well.