Saturday, February 16, 2019 | ePaper

Insufficient spectrum renders poor service

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Economic Reporter :
Amid the incessant question of quality of service (QoS), mobile network operators (MNOs) in Bangladesh have again shown their reluctance to buy spectrum in the latest bid.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) had 46.4 Megahertz (MHz) of spectrum for sale in the auction, but two operators have collected 15.6 MHz only, while two kept themselves out of the bid.
Mentioning that market leader Grameenphone owns 45 percent of the total market share, BTRC Chairman Dr Shahjahan Mahmood said the operator serve 20 lakh people using one MHz spectrum.
Besides, the second operator Robi, he said, provides service for 11 lakh customers with one MHz spectrum and 16 lakh customers of Banglalink is getting service per MHz of airwave.
Dr Mahmood questioned the MNOs if it was enough for QoS.
The regulatory body chief also cited the instances of different MNOs in developed and advanced countries. He said in Malaysia, Celcom serves 1.86 lakh customers with one MHz spectrum which is 15 to 10 times lower than Grameenphone, while Maxis offers service to 2 lakh people per MHz and U mobile does the same to 1.2 lakh customers.
In Germany, Vodafone using one MHz serves 2.2 lakh customers while Telefonica provides services for 3.45 customers per MHz, said the BTRC chairman.
In the auction, BTRC fixed $ 27 million as the floor price per MHz of spectrum in 2100 band while $ 30 million per MHz in 1800 and 900 bands. But, auction for 900 band was not held for reluctance of mobile phone operator.
"I believe the price is fair and justified for Bangladesh," added Dr Mahmood.
However, Secretary General of Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB) T I M Nurul Kabir opined the price of per MHz spectrum is very high for the MNOs to afford. "As the price is so high, the MNOs have no way to act as expected," he added.

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