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Spectrum conversion fee reset at $4m: Tarana

DHAKA, Nov 29, 2017 (BSS) - The government has reset the spectrum conversion fees for two bands to enjoy the technology neutrality in mobile telecommunication.

"In case of the conversion in one go, the charge will be $ 4 million for each 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz, while it will be $ 7.5 million for converting partly," state minister for posts and telecommunications Tarana Halim told reporters today at a briefing at her ministry office.

She said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has approved the revised guidelines addressing all the concerns of mobile phone operators.

"A total of 22 issues placed by the operators have been considered fully while one has been partly for the betterment of the industry," revealed Tarana.

Earlier in September this year, when the posts and telecommunications division announced the 4G guidelines, the mobile phone operators expressed their concern over 23 issues. But, later Prime Minister's ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy in a meeting at posts and telecommunications division solved all the issues.

"Actual activities of launching 4G service was started today, as all the documents related work was completed through the approval of the Prime Minister," noted Tarana.

She said Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) will now move to hold an auction for spectrum allocation and 4G license.

Replying to a query of possible launching, the state minister said: "The government wants to introduce the 4G service as the New Year's gift."

The telecom regulator will give the mobile operators less than two weeks to submit their applications, after which it will take another 45 days to arrange the auction.

One of the demands of the operators was to cut down the price of spectrum for technological neutrality, which will empower them to deliver better service quality. They asked for it to be slashed to $4 million per megahertz of spectrum from $7.5 million.

Besides, the clause regarding VAT/TAX has also been revised and now it has to be deposited to the appropriate authority of the government.

As per the new decision, the operators will not be required to obtain no-objection certificates from the telecom regulator in advance about their corporate social responsibility projects.

4G speed has also been redefined and it would now be only 20 Mbps instead of 1 Gbps.

As per the new guideline, the operators will have to store subscribers' usage data for only two years and not 12 years as previously stipulated.

The operators will now have to share 5.5 percent of their revenues from 4G service with the telecom regulator and the percentage will remain the same for the next 15 years.