In Developing countries better spectrum pricing policies are needed to improve the economic and social condition of billions of people who have no connections to mobile broadband services, this revealed in a new report by GSMA entitled “Spectrum pricing in developing countries”. The study also shows that the final spectrum prices in developing countries are three times higher compared to developed countries. The high spectrum pricing is a major obstacle for increasing investment and mobile penetration. The report also finds that high spectrum prices and poorer coverage, and more expensive and lower quality mobile broadband services are interrelated, which hinder the consumers to take up services.
From 2010 to 2017, the GSMA study did the largest analysis, through assessing over 1000 spectrum assignments across 102 countries including 60 developing and 42 developed, on spectrum pricing in developing countries and its potential impacts on consumers. Countries included in the analysis, where spectrum licensing is a priority, are Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, India, Jordan, Mexico, Myanmar and Thailand.
Through the Digital Bangladesh programme, the government aims to bring socioeconomic transformation through information and communication technology. To fulfill this aim, policymakers should ensure the timely release of the upcoming spectrum and fair prices to access the spectrum so that better quality and more affordable services can be provided.
Recently, GSMA forecast that, if the right policy is provided, the mobile broadband connection may increase to 82% by 2025 in Bangladesh. In February 2018, the policymakers introduced 4G/LTE services by hosting technology neutrality at an extra fee and auctioning additional spectrum. Although for extremely high reserve prices only 33% of the available spectrum was sold in the auction. According to the GSMA study, the auction’s reserve prices for spectrum over the period 2000 to 2017 were set three times to the Asia Pacific’s final prices for adjusting GDP per capita.
The failure in selling spectrum in previous auctions highlights the importance of setting reserve prices in such a level for future auctions in Bangladesh that the operators are able to finance spectrum and deploy new infrastructure to provide valuable services to the consumers.