Telecommunications Tarana Halim today said the government wants to float spectrum auction for introducing fourth generation (4G) mobile phone service in Bangladesh.
“We have planned to introduce 4G in this New Year and primary works for this have already been completed,” the state minister disclosed said at a press conference at her ministry office which was organized to mark two years of the second term of the present Awami League led grand alliance government.
Tarana said “airwave is being prepared for auction” but she didn’t
elaborate which band of spectrum would be floated for sale.
All the operators would be eligible for taking part in the auction, she said, adding, “no one would get special chance to introduce the service before auction, rather all operators would be given equal treatment.”
State-owned Teletalk got the chance to introduce 3G service on trial before the auction of the mobile broadband service.
Posts and Telecommunications Secretary Faizur Rahman Chowdhury said they want to create level playing field for competition, so that all operators could collect spectrum equally. “The operators having more spectrums would not eligible in the first lot of auction,” he added.
Market leader Grameenphone owns a total of 32 MHz spectrum in 900, 1800 and 2100 bands while Banlalink has 20 MHz, Robi has 19.80 MHz and airtel has 20 MHz. Besides, state-owned Teletalk is running its operation with 25.20 MHz spectrum.
According to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), the country has a total of 15 MHz in three blocks (5 MHz each) in 2100 MHz.
Earlier, in February last year, the telecom regulator published a guideline for auction of 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands.
According to the guidelines, 10.60 MHz spectrum is available in two blocks for auction in 1800 MHz band or 2G, and 15 MHz spectrum in three blocks is available in 2100 MHz band or 3G. But, the auction had not taken place as the cellular phone operators abstained from participation.