AMTOB calls for BTRC dialogue with stakeholders

HM Murtuza | Published: 23:13, Aug 19,2017


Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh has urged Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to hold consultation meetings with the stakeholders in telecommunication sector before adopting any new policy.
The association came up with the call while the BTRC is on its way to finalise a number of policy decisions and guidelines for the telecommunication sector.
The telecommunication regulator has been formulating guidelines for including 4G services, technology neutrality in each band of spectrum, auction of bandwidth and revision of existing call rates of the mobile phone operators.
The AMTOB chief executive officer TIM Nurul Kabir has already sent a letter to the telecommunication regulator on August 7 in this regard.
The letter said that the consultation with the stakeholders over the policy issues which were under process of finalisation would also help to give their opinion regarding the issues, BTRC sources said.
The AMTOB letter also mentioned that the policies which would be formulated based on consensus might also be helpful for implementation.
As most of the issues will be very much crucial for the future business of the mobile phone operators, they expressed their interest to talk with the regulator in this regard, a BTRC senior official told New Age on Thursday.
The commission, however, is yet to finalise its decision regarding the issue, he said.
Apart from AMTOB, the leading mobile phone operator Grameenphone also called on the government to hold dialogue with the mobile phone operators ahead of spectrum auction for 4G service.
Grameenphone chief corporate affairs officer Mahmud Hossain said this while talking to a group of journalists earlier this month.
‘Although the government has already reduced the technology neutrality charge to $ 7.5 million per megahertz from $10 million, it is still very high and not affordable,’ said Mahmud.
Technology neutrality allows the operators to offer either of 2G, 3G or 4G services from any band as they see fit, a facility that helps in reducing the operational costs and improving the service quality.
The government also accepted the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission’s proposal to set $27 million, $30 million and $35 million for each MHz of spectrum in three different bands in the upcoming auction.
However, the mobile operators are calling for $15 million for each MHz in all three bands.
The price of spectrum, however, is yet to be finalised.
In 2013, when 3G was introduced in the country, smartphone penetration was very low. At present, it stands at about 30
per cent.
Currently, 4G service is available in all the neighbouring countries and the government is eager to launch it by this year.
As of February, there were more than 7 crore mobile internet users in Bangladesh, 3.5 crore of which use 3G service.

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