Friday, September 20, 2013

3G Spectrum Auction in Bangladesh

In the 3G spectrum auction on Sunday, 8th September, 2013 held at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in the capital Dhaka. The operator Grameenphone/GP bought 10MHz and other operators Robi, Airtel and Banglalink bought 5MHz each. The auction was concluded with just four calls, selling a total of 25MHz on the 2,100 band. A big chunk of 15MHz spectrum remained unsold.

Telecommunication Minister Shahara Khatun, Chairman of parliamentary standing committee on the ministry Md Abdus Sattar, Secretary Md Abubakar Siddique, BTRC Chairman Sunil Kanti Bose, Vice-Chairman Md Giashuddin Ahmed, and commissioner’s ATM Monirul Alam and Md Abdus Samad were present at the auction.

After the auction, the BTRC (Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission) sent a letter to the Telecommunication Ministry of Bangladesh, informing it of the auction and its outcome and requesting it to approve issuance of the 3G licenses soon to the operators.

BTRC chairman said in reply to a question “The telecom watchdog has no idea what it will do with the unsold spectrum. “The government will decide on the rest of the spectrum on the basis of demand”. He also said “There was no scope of an intense competition here as only four licenses were given and there were four applicants”.

The four mobile phone operators in the country GP, Robi, Airtel and Banglalink expressed satisfaction at the auction outcome and claimed there was no syndication about the auction. More details about the auction phase are as follows:

The first phase of the auction for 10MHz blocks started at 11:15am and the operator Grameenphone bid for $21m for each MHz within 439 milliseconds. The operator won the bidding as there was no other player for this block. Grameenphone got the chance to choose 10MHz spectrum in 2,125-2,135 band for downlink and 1,925-1,935 for uplink. Grameenphone CEO Vivek Sood said: “We are happy to get the spectrum to launch 3G. We will bring the 3G services to our valued customers at fastest possible time, ensuring the high quality for which GP is known for.”

In the second phase, Robi bid for 5MHz block within 410 milliseconds. Robi was given the opportunity to choose spectrum band, and it took 2,140-2,145 for downlink and 1,950-1,955 for uplink. Robi CEO Michael Kuehner told the Dhaka Tribune that their 3G service launching would depend on the issuance and handover of the actual license as well as receipt of the NOCs from the relevant authorities for import of equipment and its subsequent deployment.

Airtel bid after 44.792 seconds. Airtel took 2,135-2,140 for downlink and 1,945-1,950 for uplink. Chris Tobit, CEO of Airtel said “We are very hopeful to fulfill the government’s desire by rolling out the 3G network within the time [fixed in the guideline] and we are committed to deploying world class 3G network in the country”.

Just before the end of the 5-minute period for bidding, Banglalink joined the race. Banglalink got the rest of the block 2,145-2,150 and 1,955-1,960. CEO of Banglalink, Ziad Shatara said: “We are now ready to move on to the rollout phase, and ensure availability of this technology to our valued customers. Banglalink has always been at the forefront of technology in this market, and with 3G, we reiterate our commitment to deliver to our customers the next generation of technologies and value propositions.”

The BTRC found no bidder in the second clock-round for $22m, so Robi, Airtel and Banglalink got 5MHz each and no competitor responded to the auctioneer’s cry in the third phase.

The state-owned mobile operator Teletalk will get the 3G license by default on 2,150-2,160 MHz band and it will have to pay $21m, the price fixed by the auction. The country’s oldest CDMA operator Citycell had applied for 3G license but it did not finally deposit $20m of the earnest money.

Thanks a lot.

other related posts:
Bangladesh could show India the way to 3G - Forbes India
Offered 3G Packages from GP / Grameenphone
Various 3G Packages and Services from Teletalk

3G Packs from Airtel BD
Various Packages from Robi 3.5G
Banglalink 3G Package Details

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