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Bangladesh lowering 4G licensing fees – but not reserve prices

Bangladesh lowering 4G licensing fees – but not reserve prices

Bangladesh’s regulator has proposed cutting 4G licence fees by a third ahead of September’s spectrum auctions.

The BTRC (Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission) has opted to reduce both the licensing acquisition fee and the annual licensing fee by 33%. Respectively, these fees will now be set at BDT100 billion ($1.22 million) and BDT50 billion respectively.

In addition, the fee for converting spectrum in the 900MHz and 1.8GHz bands to allow them to be used for different cellular technologies has been slashed from $10 million per megahertz to $7.5 million. The revenue sharing rate for 4G services will also be lowered from 15% to 5.5%.

The BTRC has also decided to scrap a restriction that would have required all funding for the auction to be provided in foreign currency, following a meeting with the Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy.

While operators will welcome the BTRC’s decisions, there was no mention of reducing the reserve prices in the auctions, which have drawn criticism from operators. Reserve prices for the 2.1GHz, 1.8GHz and 900MHz bands have respectively been set at $27 million, $30 million and $35 million per MHz.

Operators have sent their recommendations that all three bands should have a reserve price of $15 million per MHz to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is also in charge of the telecoms ministry.

The upcoming auctions are open to Bangladesh’s four operators, as well as offering an opening for a newcomer. Winning bidders will be obliged to deploy nationwide 4G services within three years of obtaining their licence.