BTRC unwilling to give Teletalk addl spectrum for 4G launch

HM Murtuza | Published: 00:05, Mar 18,2018 | Updated: 23:15, Mar 17,2018


Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has disagreed with a posts and telecommunications ministry’s proposal to allocate additional 10 Megahertz of spectrum to state-owned Tetelalk for launching 4G service.
The telecom ministry proposed that the BTRC allocate 5MHz of spectrum in 1,800MHz band and 5MHz of spectrum in 2,100MHz band to the state-owned operator.
All three private mobile phone operators —Grameenphone, Robi and Banglalink — have already launched the fourth-generation service in February, while the state-owned operator is yet to complete preparations for the launch of the service.
Officials of Teletalk said that the operator had been planning to launch the service by May this year depending on completion of all the regulatory and technical requirements.
A senior BTRC official told New Age on Tuesday, ‘There is a scope for utilising the existing spectrum by Teletalk for 4G launch and that’s why the BTRC disagreed with the ministry’s proposal.’
Considering the number of users or customers Teletalk serves, spectrum utilisation by the state-owned operator is the lowest among the existing four mobile operators in the country, a BTRC report on spectrum use showed.
The company holds 25.2MHz of spectrum and 44.94 lakh subscribers, so it serves only 1.87 lakh people with a megahertz of spectrum, the BTRC report showed.
On the other hand, with a megahertz of spectrum GP serves 20.81 lakh customers, Robi 11.79 lakh and Banglalink 16.19 lakh.
Based on the findings, the commission has already informed the telecom ministry that Teletalk has excessive volume of spectrum considering its total number of subscribers.
Getting technology neutrality that allows an operator to serve any kind of mobile service using any spectrum band would be enough for the operator to launch 4G service, according to the BTRC reply to the ministry.
The BTRC official also said that the commission had already informed the telecom ministry about its decision as the request for additional spectrum for Teletalk was made through the ministry.
Teletalk regulatory affairs head Md Saifur Rahman Khan, however, told New Age that the entity was yet to get any information on the BTRC’s decision regarding the spectrum allocation plea.
‘We have made the proposal as adequate spectrum is one of the key factors for ensuring quality service,’ he said.
Teletalk would take its next step over the spectrum issue for the launch of 4G service upon receiving the BTRC’s decision in this regard, he said.
Asked about the operator’s plan to launch 4G service, Saifur said, ‘We are planning to launch the service by April-May this year as per the instruction given by the telecom minister.’
Another official of the operator said that Teletalk was now working for the upgradation of its software with a view to launching 4G service.
Apart from the rejection of spectrum allocation plea, the commission in its reply to the telecom ministry said that the government would be able to earn a huge amount of money by allocating the 10MHz spectrum though an auction process instead of allocating those to Teletalk.
Besides, the commission also informed the ministry about Teletalk’s Tk 1,610 crore dues to the commission.

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