BTRC preparing 700MHz auction

23 Oct 2014

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) is preparing the 700MHz spectrum band to release it next year to mobile operators, to enable them to deploy higher-speed broadband services over a greater distance per base station than they currently offer, and at a lower investment cost. As reported by the Daily Star, because a portion of the 700MHz band is currently occupied by a fixed-wireless internet service provider (ISP) – AlwaysOn Network Bangladesh – the regulator must rearrange it in order to allocate usable blocks to cellcos for 4G LTE services, under guidelines of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which has acted as a consultant for the project. The BTRC allocated 2×6MHz spectrum in the 700MHz range free of charge to AlwaysOn in July 2006, initially for five years. Once the ISP’s allocation is cancelled, 45MHz of bandwidth will be available to cellcos in the band, but until this happens there is only 25MHz usable bandwidth to distribute to the mobile operators. The watchdog will now ask the ISP to relinquish the spectrum, according to BTRC secretary Sarwar Alam, while another BTRC official clarified that the aim is to ‘allocate a different band to the AlwaysOn network so as not to hamper its business and equipment,’ although added that the regulator is ‘still searching for a suitable bandwidth.’ The BTRC aims to enable the ISP to continue operating with its current equipment, and stated that AlwaysOn currently provides services to 13,000 customers through 46 base stations. Reaz Shaheed, managing director of AlwaysOn, declined to comment on the matter, the Star report added.

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