Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has issued a directive allowing embattled and out-of-operation Citycell to convert its existing bandwidth.
The BTRC directive issued by its director Md Aminul Hoque mentioned that the spectrum conversion fees for Citycell’s CDMA bandwidth in 800 megahertz spectrum would be same as it was in the case of 900MHz and 1800MHz of the other operators.
The operation of Citycell has remained suspended since October 21, 2016 as the country’s lone CDMA operator is at loggerheads with the telecom regulator over dues.
The telecom regulator issued the directive following appeal from Citycell to allow the operator to convert its existing bandwidth in 800HMz.
The BTRC guidelines on spectrum conversion do not contain anything about the spectrum conversion in 800MHz spectrum band, prompting Citycell to seek guidelines on technology neutrality of its spectrum.
Technology neutrality allows a mobile phone operator to provide any of the 2G, 3G and 4G services in the same bandwidth.
Apart from Citycell, all the three other private mobile phone operators — Grameenphone, Robi and Banglalink— have already received technology neutrality from the BTRC and launched 4G service.
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.
Citycell refrained from participating in the fresh spectrum auction held in February this year amid liquidity crisis.
The operator, however, would be eligible to get 4G licence if its CDMA spectrum is converted, a senior official of the commission told New Age last week.
He also said that Citycell would have to pay $4 million for each megahertz of spectrum for conversion of its entire spectrum in one go, while it would have to pay $7.5 million for the partial conversion of its spectrum.
The mobile phone operator will have to submit application in this regard by May 20, the BTRC official said.
An official of Citycell told New Age that they would take next steps as per the procedure.
Earlier this year, Citycell initially applied for 4G licence but refrained from paying money as per the 4G licencing guidelines.
Of the other mobile phone operators, GP, Robi and Banglalink have already launched 4G service in different locations across the country, while state-owned entity Teletalk is yet to launch the service.