Following negotiations with four cellcos – GrameenPhone, Banglalink, Robi and CityCell – Bangladesh’s telecoms minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju has announced that the companies will have to pay spectrum allocation fees of BDT1.5 billion (USD19.74 million) for each 1MHz of GSM 1800MHz/900MHz or CDMA 800MHz band wireless spectrum allocated to them. The fees – the first of such payments incurred by the operators – were arrived at after negotiations following the original draft guideline of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) in January proposed a higher BDT3 billion charge for GSM-900 spectrum. The fees must be paid by the cellcos to renew their licences for the next 15 years, with the total amount payable by each finalised on the basis of their market share, using a ‘market competition factor’ multiplier, meaning that sector leader GrameenPhone will pay significantly more than relative minnow CityCell. Following a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office, it was also confirmed that 3G mobile licences would be awarded in the country via auction, although no timeline or other details were issued.
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