Bangladesh entered the third generation (3G) era with the holding of the country's biggest auction to roll out advanced mobile services enabling fast spread of mobile internet.
Four telecom operators acquired 25 megahertz spectrum at a cost of $525 million or Tk 40.81 billion through auction process for 3G mobile phone service operation in the country.
Of the 40 megahertz (MHz) spectrum of 2100 band, Grameenphone vied for 10 MHz spectrum, while Robi, Airtel and Banglalink for 5 MHz spectrum each. The rest 15 MHz spectrum has remained unsold. The base price of per MHz spectrum was $20 million and every incremental bid call was set at $1.0 million.
In the auction, leading telecom player Grameenphone picked 10 MHz spectrum at a price of $21 million per MHz spectrum by participating in the first phase of auction. However, the remaining three operators did not respond in this phase.
Mobile operator Robi responded first at the second phase of the auction for one block, then Airtel and then Banglalink knocked the bid with the same price of $21 million per MHz spectrum. In total, each of the three operators will have to pay $105 million for 5 MHz spectrum.
Later, the authority called the bid winners to choose spectrum in chronological order from the eight blocks. In this process, Grameenphone chose block 4 and 5 (1935MHz-1940MHz and 1940MHz-1945MHz), while Robi chose block 7 (1950MHz-1955MHz), Airtel opted for block 6 (1945MHz-1950MHz) and Banglalink for block 8 (1955MHz-1960MHz).
According to the 3G guidelines, the operators will have to pay 60 per cent of the total price of spectrum assignment as the first installment within 30 days that is before October 8 and the remaining in the next 180 days.
Source: Financial Times(September 09, 2013)
Sayed Farrukh Ahmed
Faculty of Business & Economics
Daffodil International University