CityCell seeking foreign partner for GSM/W-CDMA migration

18 Jun 2013

Bangladeshi CDMA-based mobile operator CityCell is holding talks with several foreign telecoms groups to invest in its planned project to migrate to GSM technology, the Financial Express reports, adding that the company, part of the SingTel group, has already talked to China Telecom and India’s Reliance group. ‘We are in talks with various companies for fresh investment in CityCell,’ confirmed CEO Mehboob Chowdhury, but added that a consensus is yet to be reached, largely because commitment to the technology migration plan rests on a decision on whether to bid in Bangladesh’s 3G/4G 2100MHz licence auction – with CommsUpdate previously reporting that applications for the September-scheduled auction are due by 10 July. ‘Everything is depending on whether we are participating in the upcoming 3G bidding,’ the CityCell chief stated. However, having applied for regulatory permission for the technology switch in August 2012, when it had its 2G licence renewed, the GSM plan remains subject to final approval from the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC), which is reportedly pending the full payment of CityCell’s 2G licence renewal fees, whilst a BTRC official further indicated that the cellco must purchase an additional sub-block of wireless spectrum (2×1.18MHz) to make its allocation viable to operate CDMA and GSM services during the transition period.

Bangladesh,China Telecom Corporation, China Telecom Group, PBTL (CityCell), Reliance Communications (RCOM),

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