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Cell phone operators call for reviewing spectrum guidelines [ Business ] 12/07/2017
Cell phone operators call for reviewing spectrum guidelines
Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB) on Tuesday urged the government for reviewing the spectrum guideline and lowering spectrum prices to US$15 million per MHz.      

Representatives of AMTOB at a discussion meeting yesterday expressed their dismay over fixing the tariff of spectrum without consulting with cell phone operators.  

“It’s really impractical to set up the tariff of different types of spectrum prices without informing the mainstream operators,” said a member of AMTOM.
They pointed out that the proposed spectrum guideline fails to realise the size of Bangladesh market, its impact and investment scenario.   

The government proposed the base price of 900 MHz spectrum at $30 million per MHz while it suggested the price of 1800 MHz at $35 million per MHz. At the same time, the government proposed the 2100 MHz spectrum at $27 million per MHz.  Earlier, the AMTOB requested the government to reduce the price of per MHz spectrum to half as the revenue opportunity per MHz is decreasing due to decoupling between data consumption and revenue. The representatives of AMTOB also suggested the government to declare the existing spectrum bands to be truly technology neutral.

They also requested the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to relax the repayment of the spectrum acquisition fees up to license period.

Besides, it suggested to fix the license acquisition and annual fees to Tk 10 crore and Tk 5.0 crore respectively.

According to AMTOM, operators are continuingly investing to provide satisfactory services which include among others voice quality, signal strength, low call blocking, dropping probability, speed of data etc.   Without technology neutrality in case of existing bands, MNOs will not be able to provide expected 4G services. Countrywide robust fiber network availability with affordable rate is a must for successful rollout of 4G and expected quality of services, they said.

Without increasing the penetration of 4G handset which is currently only 5 percent, industry’s investment will go in vain, they thought.

The cell phone operators have already invested Tk 32,000 crore in last three years to roll out 3G spectrum. “But total revenue is less than Tk 6,000 crore in the period,” said Shahed Alam, Executive Vice President, Regulatory Affairs at Robi Axiata Limited.  

About 47 percent of population under 3G coverage is not using 3G, Mahmud Hossain, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer of GP said.  “Thus to ensure affordability of handset by reducing the tax burden and VAT on internet to be withdraw,” he said. AMTOB secretary general T I M Nurul Kabir, Banglalink head of public and digital policy Abu Nazam Md Tanveer Hossain and senior official concern in different operators attended at the discussion on proposed 4G licensing guideline and industry prospect at AMTOB office.
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