Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has decided to invite proposals soon to award four tower company licences.
The BTRC decision came from a special commission meeting presided over by its chairman Shahjahan Mahmood on Wednesday, BTRC commissioner Md Jahurul Haque told reporters.
He said the commission decided to publish a request for proposal within next two to three working days.
He also expected that the licences could be awarded within two months.
Awarding tower sharing licences would help, among others, developing mobile network coverage area by facilitating optimum utilisation of telecommunication resources and reducing environmental hazards.
According to the tower sharing licensing guidelines, four companies will get licences to manage mobile towers in Bangladesh and the evaluation process will be conducted under the ‘beauty contest’ method.
Tower companies will be eligible for own, build and maintain all the telecom towers and operators including all mobile and other telecom service providers will take service from them.
Licence acquisition fee and annual fee have been set at Tk 25 crore and Tk 5 crore respectively.
Besides, licensees will have to share 5.5 per cent of their revenue with the government and another 1 per cent with the social obligation fund from the second year of getting licences.
The licensees will also have to give performance bank guarantee worth Tk 20 crore to the BTRC and the telecom regulator would encash up to 50 per cent of the performance bank guarantee phase by phase for their (licensees) failure to fulfil the rollout obligation.
The tenure of the licence would be 15 years initially that would be extended gradually by five years.
Mobile phone operators have more than 30,000 towers across the country, according to the BTRC data.
This number might be reduced after the licences are awarded, officials said.
A senior BTRC official said though there are four licences to be awarded, only two interested parties have so far communicated with them for the licence.
Of them, one is US-based global tower company ATC (American Tower Corporation) and another is edotco Bangladesh, he said.
edotco is a Malaysian company and a sister concern of Axiatia Group — the parent company of local mobile operator Robi.
Robi holds 20 per cent share in edotco.
The official also said they saw little chance to get expression of interest from any other entities as the business requires huge capital to run.
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