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Bangladesh earns Tk 10,646 crore by selling 5G spectrum

The government has earned around $1.24 billion or Tk 10,646 crore from the auction by selling 190 MHz spectrum which support 4G and 5G networks.

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), the regulatory body, held an auction for four mobile phone operators at Hotel InterContinental Dhaka on Thursday (March 31) morning.

The leading telecom companies in the country — Grameenphone, Robi, Banglalink and Teletalk – took part in the auction.

Taking part in the auction, Grameenphone and Robi have acquired the maximum with 60MHz spectrum each from 2.6GHz bands for about Tk 3,360 crore each followed by Banglalink and Teletalk who bought 40MHz and 30MHz respectively.

Banglalink acquired 40MHz from 2.3GMHz bands, while state-owned telecom operator Teletalk acquired 30MHz from 2.3GHz bands with about Tk 1,680 crore.

The base price per MHz was set at $6.5 million for both bands for a 15-year contract. The auction included 10 blocks of 100MHz waves in the 2.3 GHz band and 12 blocks of 120 MHz waves in the 2.6 GHz band.

It was the largest spectrum auction in Bangladesh’s history.

Post and Telecommunications Minister Mostafa Jabbar and Post and Telecommunication Division Secretary Khalilur Rahman and other high officials were present.

Currently, consumers are able to use 4G services and the launching of 5G will significantly increase internet speed.

Previously on December 12, Teletalk carried out test operations for 5G. BTRC allotted 60MHz of the spectrum from 3.5GH on a refundable condition for the trial.

With this acquisition, Grameenphone now holds the top position in all bands with 107.4MHz spectrum.

Operators have to pay 10% of the total purchase price within 60 days of the announcement of the final auction results, while the remaining 90% will be paid off in equal installments over 9 years.

BTRC Engineering and Operations Commissioner Engineer Md Mohiuddin Ahmed presided over the auction which was conducted by Director of Systems and Services Brig Gen Nasim Parvez, Director General of the Spectrum Division Brig Gen Md Moniruzzaman Jewel, Director Md Sohail Rana and Lt Colonel Md Awal Uddin.

In a notice published by BTRC on March 3, the regulatory body had instructed all telecom operators to begin test runs for the 5G spectrum within six months of the auction.

Last year, the government earned the highest Tk 7,634 crore by assigning a total of 27.4MHz spectrum from 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands.

Grameenphone said in a statement that it was committed to giving its users the ‘best possible experience’ through the acquisition and thanked the government for running the auction.

“As we roll out the new spectrum, customers will enjoy improved 4G experience. 4G technology will continue to be the primary technology enabling Bangladesh to reach its full digital potential. Looking to the future, through this spectrum acquisition, Grameenphone has demonstrated its commitment to building on its technology leadership by testing 5G,” Grameenphone CEO Yasir Azman said.