TECH NEUTRALITY

BTRC cuts spectrum conversion fee amid telcos’ pressure

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:05, Nov 14,2017 | Updated: 00:29, Nov 14,2017

 
 

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has revised downward the fee for getting technology neutrality facility for each megahertz of spectrum in 900 and 1800 megahertz bands amid pressure from mobile phone operators.
The telecom regulator on November 8 made the decision at a special meeting with its chairman Shahjahan Mahmood in the chair, a senior official of the commission told New Age on Monday.
Under the technology neutrality facility, the operators are allowed to provide any of the 2G, 3G and 4G or long-term evolution services in any bands.
The telecom regulator under its latest revision proposed the ministry that the conversion fee for each MHz of spectrum in the 900 and 1800 bands should be $4 million if entire spectrums in possession are converted, while the rate should be $7.5 million for partial conversion of spectrums in the two bands.
The BTRC earlier proposed that the conversion fee for each MHz of spectrum should be $7.5 million and the conversion of entire holdings in the 900 and 1800 MHz bands at once should be made mandatory.
BTRC officials said that the total allocation of spectrums in the two bands to the mobile operators was 82 MHz.
Dissatisfied with the BTRC’s earlier decision, country’s mobile phone operators requested the government top brass to intervene in the issue.
The telecom regulator made the revision following an instruction from the posts and telecommunication ministry after a tripartite meeting at the secretariat among the ministry, BTRC and top officials of the mobile phone operators in presence of prime minister’s ICT affairs adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy.
The BTRC, based on the instruction from the ministry, on October 30 held a meeting with the top officials of telecom operators where operators proposed that the conversion fee in case of conversion of entire bandwidth at once should be $3 million per MHz, while the fee should be $5 million per MHz in case of conversion of spectrums partially.
BTRC officials said that the commission would make it final after getting approval from the telecom ministry.
Apart from launching 4G services, the telecom regulator earlier prepared to hold fresh auction for 2100 megahertz (MHz), 1800 MHz and 900 MHz within this year.
At present, mobile operators use 900 MHz and 1800 MHz for 2G services, while 2100 MHz for 3G services and they enjoy technology neutrality in the 2100 MHz by default. 

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