BTRC recommends 4 telcos to ministry for 4G licence

Citycell excluded from the list

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:05, Feb 15,2018 | Updated: 00:38, Feb 15,2018

 
 

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has recommended four operators— Grameenphone, Robi, Banglalink and Teletalk— to the posts, telecommunications and information technology ministry for awarding 4G licences.
The fourth generation mobile phone service or 4G service will allow mobile phone subscribers to experience higher browsing and download speed of the internet.
The telecom ministry received the proposal from BTRC on Wednesday that scrapped application of the out-of-operation mobile phone operator Citycell, a senior official of the commission told New Age on Wednesday.
The commission made the proposal based on a decision taken at a recently-held commission meeting presided over by its chairman Shahjahan Mahmood.
Officials from the mobile phone operators said that they would be able to launch 4G services immediately after the licences are handed over to them as they have been taking preparation to launch 4G service for last few months.
They, however, also said that the extent of the service would be limited initially and would expand gradually.
Although the telecom regulator initially qualified Citycell for 4G licence based on its preliminary evaluation on January 23, the operator was disqualified after it refrained itself from participating in the spectrum auction and taking technology neutrality of its existing spectrum.
At present, Citycell has 8.82Megahertz CDMA spectrum in 800MHz band for Dhaka central zone and 6.3MHz in the same band for rest of the country and the spectrum is yet to become technology neutral.
The existing bandwidth possession of the operator does not allow the operator to run 4G service.
Even if its bandwidth was technology neutral that could have made the operator eligible to get 4G licence, the official of the commission said.
Apart from these, Citycell still has scope to convert its existing spectrum as the deadline for submitting application in this regard was set at February 20, the official said.
Conversion of the spectrum could give Citycell a scope afterwards to revise BTRC’s decision, he said.
On the other hand, although Robi and Teletalk did not purchase any spectrum from the auction held on Tuesday, they were qualified to get 4G licence due to their technology neutral spectrum in 2100MHz band.
Robi has 10MHz spectrum in 2100MHz band, which was technology neutral by default, and the operator has already converted remaining 9 MHz spectrum in 900MHz band and 17.4 MHz in 1800 MHz band into technology neutral.
Similarly, state-owned Teletalk already has 10MHz spectrum in 2100MHz band, making the operator eligible for the 4G licence.
On the other hand, Grameenphone and Banglalink have also became eligible for 4G licence as they purchased technology neutral spectrum from the auction held on Tuesday along with their existing holding of technology neutral spectrum in 2100MHz band.
Another official of the commission said that the commission might receive approval from the telecom ministry within a few days as the licences and spectrum awarding notifications programme was scheduled to be held on Monday next week.

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