Citycell drops out of 4G spectrum auction

Only GP, BL remain in race as Robi seeks time

Staff Correspondent | Published: 23:02, Feb 05,2018

 
 

A file photo shows a man entering a Citycell customer care centre in Dhaka. Country’s second largest mobile phone operator Robi and out-of-operation Citycell did not submit bid earnest money for spectrum auction by Monday deadline. — New Age photo

Country’s second largest mobile phone operator Robi and out-of-operation Citycell did not submit bid earnest money for spectrum auction by Monday deadline.
Robi, however, issued a letter to the Bangladesh Telecommunication and Regulatory Commission, seeking time to pay the money, said BTRC officials.
With two operators apparently out of race, BTRC officials apprehended that there would be virtually no competition as only two operators — Grameenphone and Banglalink — remained in the race by submitting bid earnest money.
They said that non-payment of bid earnest money would make Citycell disqualified for participating in the spectrum auction scheduled to be held on February 13.
Robi would also become disqualified too if the commission refrains from granting the operator time, they said.
Although there was a plan to participate in the auction, the scarcity of fund refrained Citycell to participate, its officials said.
BTRC chairman Shahjahan Mahmood in January said that Citycell would have to take spectrum first to get licence for the fourth generation mobile phone service operation.
So, non-participation in the spectrum auction by the mobile operator would make it disqualified for getting 4G licence, BTRC officials said.
Robil and Citycell along with two other mobile phone operators — Grameenphone and Banglalink — earlier expressed interest to participate in the spectrum auction in three bands — 900 megahertz, 1800 MHz and 2700 MHz.
As per the spectrum auction guidelines, mobile phone operators were supposed to pay Tk 150 crore as bid earnest money to participate in the auction of each of the spectrum band within Monday.
BTRC on January 25 named Grameenphone, Robi, Banglalink and Citycell as qualified to participate in the auction while the lone state-owned mobile phone Teletalk decided to refrain from participating in the auction.
Earlier on December 4 last year, the telecom regulator invited applications from the mobile phone operators to submit proposal to participate in the spectrum auction within January 14 this year.
As per the schedule for spectrum auction, the BTRC will issue letters of acceptance and rejection to the mobile phone operators tomorrow.
The schedule also showed that the mock auction would be held on February 12 and the notification would be issued to the winning applicants on February 14.
As per the guidelines, the base price for auction of 2100 MHz is $27 million, 1800 MHz $30 million and 900 MHz $30 million. 

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