Open 3G auction set for June 2012

25 Nov 2011

A national 3G UMTS mobile licence auction will be held in June 2012, the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has decided. The head of the watchdog, Zia Ahmed, told local news source bdnews24.com that two consultants for conducting the auction have already been selected from a shortlist of five, and that the first appointment should be finalised next week. The chosen consultants are the Indian wing of UK-based PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited (PwCIL) and US-based Nera Economic Consulting. Domestic and overseas 3G licence bidders will be permitted, Mr Ahmed confirmed, adding that if a new entrant wins a 3G concession, the BTRC will consider its application for an additional 2G licence.

Struggling state-owned cellco Teletalk will be permitted to launch 3G trial services based on W-CDMA/HSPA network technology in the 2100MHz spectrum band from 26 March 2012, with a six-month exclusivity period ending September 2012, but it will also be required to pay for commercial spectrum in the June auction. However, the BTRC chief confirmed that Teletalk will not need to compete, but will instead be guaranteed its UMTS spectrum allocation at a cost equal to the highest bid. Teletalk’s four larger GSM rivals are expected to bid for next-generation licences, namely GrameenPhone, Robi, Banglalink and Airtel, while the market is also home to a CDMA-based mobile operator, CityCell.

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