Mobile operators threaten to shun spectrum auction
Mobile operators yesterday said they may not participate in the spectrum auction scheduled for March, if some major regulatory issues are not resolved.
The issues are centred on SIM replacement tax, VAT on spectrum fee, introduction of technology neutrality in all bands, spectrum roadmap, and updated national telecom policy and telecom law.
The government was supposed to resolve the disputes after the 3G auction in 2013, the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh said.
"But the issues are still unresolved," TIM Nurul Kabir, its secretary general, said in a letter to the telecom ministry.
The government plans to hold the auction for 1,800 megahertz and 2,100 MHz bands. The floor price has been proposed at $30 million for per MHz in the 1,800 band and $22 million for 2,100 MHz band.
The government shared the proposed terms and conditions and prices with the representatives of the mobile operators on January 19.
The government did not hand a formal auction document or copies of the draft guideline, but asked the operators to provide their feedback in 1-2 days, Kabir said in the letter.
He said participation in the auction as well as investment decision by the telecom operators come only after detailed evaluation, assessment, and discussions with the operators' parent companies, shareholders and board of directors.
On behalf of the association, Kabir also suggested the government provide the operators with draft auction documents and sufficient time to review and respond to the documents.
He also urged the government to ensure a non-discriminatory and transparent auction process, so all the operators can take part in the auction.