8 cos vie for 4 mobile tower sharing licences

HM Murtuza | Published: 22:18, Jun 11,2018 | Updated: 23:04, Jun 11,2018

 
 

A file photo shows mobile towers seen on a rooftop of a building in Dhaka. Eight companies have applied to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission for mobile phone tower sharing company licences. — New Age photo.

Eight companies have applied to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission for mobile phone tower sharing company licences, a senior BTRC official told New Age on Monday.
As per the tower sharing licencing guidelines, four companies will get licences to manage mobile towers in Bangladesh and the evaluation process will be conducted under the ‘beauty contest’ method.
The commission opened the sealed applications after the extended deadline for the application submission for licences ended on 12:00pm on Monday. The earlier deadline for the application submission was May 13.
edotco Bangladesh Company Limited, an associate company of Axiata Group’s edotco group, is the lone entity out of the eight applicants that is already in operation in the tower sharing business in Bangladesh.
To fulfil the tower sharing licensing conditions, the country’s second largest mobile phone operator Robi has already withdrawn its ownership from edotco as shareholding in any tower company by a mobile phone company would make the proposed tower company ineligible to get licence.
Of the other seven companies, iSON ECT Tower, an associate company of Africa-based iSON Group’s subsidiary iSON Tower, also applied for the licence.
iSON Tower is in operation in 40 countries where it provides tower sharing services to 10 global mobile companies.
AB High Tech Consortium, an associate entity of Swedish High Tech AB, state-owned Bangladesh Telecommunication Company Limited, BD Tower Business Company Consortium, FTA Bangladesh Limited, Jamuna Tower and TASD Summit Towers Limited are the rest six companies seeking the licences.
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.
The government has allowed foreign entities to hold highest 70 per cent stake in a tower sharing company. The local entities will have to hold minimum 30 per cent shares in the company.
Having minimum three years of experience in successful tower sharing business along with operation of at least 5,000 towers has also been made mandatory to be eligible for the licence.
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.
Each licensee 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 the licensee’s failure in fulfilling 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 BTRC data.

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