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14 February, 2018 01:25:57 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 14 February, 2018 12:10:22 PM

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4G era from Feb 19

Spectrum auction adds Tk 52b to govt coffers
Staff Reporter
4G era from Feb 19

The government has earned Tk. 52 billion from the 4G spectrum auction and tech-neutrality fees from the three largest telecom operators of the country.

Subscribers will start getting 4G services soon after the operators get their licences on February 19. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) chairman Dr Shahjahan Mahmood told The Independent that the licenses would be given to the telecom operators at 7:30pm on February 19 and with it Bangladesh will eventually enter the 4G age. The BTRC held the long-pending auction at Dhaka Club yesterday. It auctioned off four blocks of the 1,800 megahertz band and five blocks of the 2,100 MHz band. The minister for post,

telecommunication and information, Mostafa Jabbar, attended the auction, which was conducted by Nasim Parvez, director general of the Spectrum Division of the BTRC. After the auction, Shahjahan Mahmood told reporters that Grameenphone (GP) and Banglalink paid a total of Tk. 38.44 billion for 4G frequency allocation.
These two are the country’s largest and third largest telecom operators respectively. GP chief executive officer (CEO) Michael Folly and Banglalink CEO Erik Aas actively participated in the auction.
However, Robi, the second largest operator, did not take part in 4G auction; it only went for tech neutrality and will use its current frequencies to offer 4G services to subscribers.
Robi CEO Mahtabuddin Ahmed said: “We’re ready to provide 4G services since December last year. We’ve enough quality spectrum at hand to provide better services to our customers, but handset penetration may obstacle the spread of 4th generation services.”
Both GP and Banglalink also paid the tech-neutrality fees, from which the government has earned another Tk. 14.45 billion.
BTRC chief said the official documents for 4G licenses and the allocated frequencies would be handed over to the operators on February 20.
Earlier, after the BTRC floated the notice for the auction, four telecom operators expressed their interests in taking part in it. Two of them eventually actively participated in the auction.
State-owned Teletalk declined to apply to take part in the spectrum auction. It, however, still has the option to enter the 4G market as the deadline for tech neutrality will end on February 20.
Grameenphone took 5MHz from the 1,800 band at a cost of Tk. 12.84 billion, while Banglalink took 10.6 MHz spectrum from two different bands of 2,100 and 1,800 MHz for Tk. 30.86 billion.
Along with the spectrum fees, the operators will have to pay 10 per cent extra as VAT if the finance ministry accepts the proposal recently sent by National Board of Revenue (NBR). Otherwise, they will have to pay 15 per cent VAT on two of the spectrum charges.

GP press briefing
After the auction, GP CEO Michael Foley, at a press briefing in the city, said: “This additional spectrum, combined with our technology-neutral spectrum, has placed us on a firm footing to provide the best 4G experience on the most modern network in the country.”
Earlier, the company had applied for technology neutrality across its entire 2G spectrum and received approval from the regulator.
GP has modernised its network by enabling the future-forward technology, which will allow its customers to experience bugger-free HD videos, live TV streaming, crystal-clear video calling, and super-fast downloads. Customers are encouraged to convert their existing 3G SIMs to 4G-enabled SIMs to get the best of GP’s modern network. Iterating that GP has always been known for its superior network and quality of service, Michael Foley said: “We’re not going to compromise on customer experience after launching 4G.”

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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