BTRC to invite spectrum auction Mar 8

Staff Correspondent

3 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) will invite spectrum auction for 2100 Megahertz (MHz) and 1800 MHz bands on March 8, 2021 to improve 3G and 4G services quality in the country.

Cell-phone users have already expressed frustration over the poor quality of services despite repeated growth of data usage during coronavirus pandemic.

Now the cell-phone operators have sought 11.8 MHz of spectrum in 1800 bands against the available spectrum of only 7.40 MHz.

The BTRC has arranged the auction as the demand is more than available spectrum, according to BTRC revised terms and conditions for Radio Frequency Auction-2021.

"If any operator doesn't participate in the auction for 1800 MHz band may not be allowed to participate in the auction of 2100 MHz bank by the auction conduction committee," according to guideline. 

Spectrum auction would be held under open outcry method, a release said.

Earlier, the BTRC issued a revised guideline for the auction on February 18 this year and it was modified the auction conditions one week later.

If any of the spectrum blocks remain unsold, the commission will assign the unsold spectrum block subsequently on revised terms and conditions as demand necessary, according to the guideline.

The BTRC also put a condition that a bidder has to participate in all round of bidding in order to acquire a specific spectrum block.

In 2018, the government had collected Tk 52.68 billion by selling 15.6 MHz of spectrum to Grameenphone and Banglalink through auction as well as conversion fee for technology neutrality.  

In 2018, mobile phone operator Banglalink acquired a total of 10.6 MHz spectrum --5 MHz in 2100 band and 5.6 MHz in 1800 band with Tk 25.58 billion while market leader Grameenphone took 5 MHz from only in 1800 band with a price of Tk 12.84 billion. 

For the third time, BTRC will organise the much awaited auction in capital to sell spectrum in 2100 MHz and 1800 MHz bands to introduce fastest 4G service in the country.

The first ever spectrum auction was held in September 8, 2013 while second on February 13, 2018.

The second largest mobile operator Robi thought their existing spectrum (36.4 MHz) will be enough for offering 4G services. 

Now, the market leader Grameenphone has totaled 37 MHz of which 7.4 MHz in 900 band, 15.6 MHz in 1800 band and 10 MHz in 2100 band to serve 65.32 million subscribers while Banglalink owns a totaled 30.6 MHz –- 5 MHz in 900 band, 15.6 MHz in 1800 MHz and 10 MHz in 2100 band. 

Besides, Teletalk has totaled 25.2 MHz of which 5.2 MHz in 900 band, 10 MHz in 1800 band and 10 MHz in 2100 band.