BTRC under pressure to reduce fee

Mobile phone companies are putting pressure on Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to reduce the fees they must pay to obtain a renewal of its licence, according to BTRC officials.
The BTRC has published a draft guideline concerning the renewal of the 2G mobile licences of four mobile operators — Grameenphone, Banglalink, Robi and CDMA operator Citycell — as their current licences are due to expire at the end of November 2011.
This states that the four companies will have to pay a total of Tk 14,579 crore for a 15-year licence – the exact amount of each company in part dependent on their subscription base.
Grameenphone will have to pay the most at Tk 7,056 crore. Banglalink will have to pay Tk 3,300 crore to renew its licence, Robi will have to pay Tk 3,163 crore and Citycell will need to pay Tk 1,020 crore.
For Grameenphone, Tk 7,056 crore represents between four and five times the level of profits after tax that the company made in 2009. In that year, the company made Tk 1,500 crore.
Industry insiders, however, told New Age that the level of licence renewal fees is less than it should be as it has been fixed on the basis of existing subscribers’ status rather than the number of subscribers projected in the future.
Furthermore, they say, the cell phone operators since their inception have been enjoying the facilities of a large portion of the frequency spectrum at no cost, as the law was unclear.
Other countries including India, Pakistan and Nepal have been earning millions of dollars against the spectrum allocation.
Asked why the BTRC fixed the licence renewal fees on the basis of existing subscribers’ status causing possible loss in revenue earnings of the government, the BTRC chairman, Zia Ahmed, said, ‘You see, I am under pressure from different quarters.’
‘A vested group is conspiring to reduce the proposed fixed amount of fees for the cell phone operators. Even the parliamentary standing committee on post and telecommunication ministry also asked me why I fixed such a large amount of licence fees,’ Zia Ahmed told New Age on Saturday.
‘Anyway, I can say that we have done justice to the peoples’ requirements as the government did not get a single taka from using this part of the spectrum in the past,’ he said.
A top official of the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators Bangladesh told New Age on condition of anonymity that the mobile operators would not be able to pay this ‘huge amount of money’ to secure a licence renewal.
‘It would be a huge blow for the industry,’ he complained.
mobile phone companies, however, deny they are putting any pressure on the regulator. A Grameenphone executive said, ‘We are currently studying the document. We will make comments only once our analysis is completed.’
Robi’s chief communication officer Mohiuddin Babar said the BTRC should fix the fees for licence renewal in consultation with the stakeholders.
‘I think the huge amount of fees the BTRC has proposed for licence renewal will discourage foreign investment in the country,’ he added. 
According to statistics of the BTRC, the six cell phone operators were given a total of 65 MHz of frequency free of cost while they paid Tk 2160 crore for using 37MHz of frequency.
According to the proposed fees set out in the draft guideline, the licencees will have to pay Tk 50 crore to obtain the frequency and an ‘assignment fee’ of Tk 150 crore for each megahertz they will use of GSM 1800MHz band and the same amount for each megahertz of  CDMA 800MHz Band.
The assignment fee for GSM Band 900MHz is proposed at Tk 300 crore for each megahertz.
Asked about having allowed cell phone operators the use of part of the spectrum free, Ahmed said, ‘From now onwards, no frequency will be given free of cost.’
According to the current licensing guideline, mobile phone operators’ licences can be renewed for five years after the completion of a successful fifteen years of operation. But, the regulator has decided to renew the terms for fifteen years similar to the licence terms for a new entrant.
Officials within some telecom companies said that 15-year licences would discourage both new companies coming into the market and mergers and acquisitions. This, they say, would allow the existing operators to operate with little pressure.
Asked why the licensing renewal period has been proposed for 15 years instead of five years, Zia Ahmed said, ‘We think that the companies must be assured of doing business for a longer period as they are paying a handsome amount of money for the licence.’ 
There are 68 million mobile subscribers in Bangladesh at the end of December 2010. This represents an impressive gain of over 13 million subscribers since the start of 2010, suggesting that the market is not yet saturated.
The draft guideline is on BTRC’s website for allowing people concerned to give their opinions in this connection by February 9, 2011.

 

Via: New Age

Related News

Best CSR Awards 2022 go to 6 Organizations and 5 Individuals

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com Six organizations and five individuals were recognized with “A Better Tomorrow CSR Awards 2022” for making positive contributions to society through various projects. The awards were presented by Planning Minister Abdul Mannan at a ceremony held at Le Meridian Dhaka in the capital, according to a press release. The Daily Star ... Read more

‘Mastercard Excellence Award 2022’ awarded to Nagad in two categories

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com The Bangladesh Postal Department’s mobile finance service Nagad won the “Mastercard Excellence Award 2022” for its groundbreaking contributions to digital innovation in the financial sector. Nagad has also won this award (second one) in the online category for its remarkable contribution to merchant business, reads a press release. The distribution ceremony ... Read more

Rupali Bank made Tahmina Akhter DMD

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com Rupali Bank Limited has appointed Tahmina Akhter to the position of Deputy Managing Director (DMD). The Financial Institutions division of the Ministry of Finance issued a circular in this regard recently, reads a press release.  Before joining as DMD, she successfully served as general manager in the same bank. Tahmina Akhter ... Read more

Asian Banker named Islami Bank as ‘Strongest Bank’

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com Singapore-based banking and financial intelligence platform The Asian Banker has named Islami Bank Bangladesh the “Strongest Bank in Bangladesh” and the “Strongest Islamic bank in Bangladesh” for 2022. Foo Boon Ping, the platform’s managing editor, announced this on Thursday through a virtual platform which was joined by Mohammed Monirul Moula, managing ... Read more

1000th sub-branch of IFIC Bank opens in Meherpur

In an effort to create the most extensive and technologically advanced banking network in the country, IFIC Bank has inaugurated its 1000th sub-branch in Mujibnagar, Meherpur. The bank’s chairman and Adviser on Private Industry and Investment to the Prime Minister Salman F Rahman and State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain was present as the ... Read more

Berger Paints offers ‘Mr. Expert Damp Guard’

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com Berger Paints Bangladesh recently launched a product called “Mr. Expert Damp Guard”, saying it protects homes from damages possible from damp conditions.  Rupali Chowdhury, managing director, and Arifin Shuvoo, brand ambassador of Mr. Expert Damp Guard, inaugurated the product at Le Meridien Dhaka, said a press release. “With this new product ... Read more

Ceramics show begins November 24

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com In an effort to boost export revenues, the Bangladesh Ceramic Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BCMEA) is holding a three-day expo from November 24–26. The expo is scheduled to take place in the International Convention City Bashundhara in Dhaka, and organizers anticipate participation from some 200 brands from 15 countries, including the ... Read more

H&M’s Bangladesh plan is big

A senior official at the Swedish retail giant says Business Desk : dhakamirror.com H&M has a big plan for sourcing from Bangladesh, but prices will rise by up to 12% after the country graduates from the least-developed countries group in 2026. Bangladesh will lose preferential market access and face 10-12% export duties after becoming a ... Read more

‘One Country, One Rate’ initiative of BTRC wins global honor

The award is presented by ASOCIO in recognition of introducing a non-discriminatory ‘one country one rate’ tariff in Bangladesh News Desk : dhakamirror.com Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission’s (BTRC) steps to ensure affordable broadband internet got global recognition as its internet at a flat rate initiative, ‘One Country, One Rate,’ won the ASOCIO-2022 award in the ... Read more

Bangladesh produced 2.51 lakh tonnes of shrimp in FY21: minister

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com Bangladesh produced 2.51 lakh tonnes of shrimp in the 2020-21 fiscal year, and the country’s export income has increased in recent years despite the global recession and Covid-19 pandemic, according to Fisheries Minister SM Rezaul Karim. He spoke at the InterContinental Dhaka in the capital during the closing ceremony of the ... Read more

Bangladesh attends Fashion World Tokyo

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com Bangladesh attended Fashion World Tokyo Autumn 2022 on October 18-20 in Tokyo, Japan. Bangladesh’s Ambassador to Japan Shahabuddin Ahmed opened the Bangladesh Pavilion at Tokyo Big Sight on 18 October 2022, according to a release issued by the embassy there. This is the largest trade show for the fashion industry in ... Read more

StanChart and Brac University to establish curriculum

Business Desk: dhakamirror.com Standard Chartered Bangladesh and Brac University signed a memorandum of understanding recently to develop a curriculum on financial crime and compliance for both undergraduate and graduate students. The aim is to develop professionals trained to prevent financial crime while following both local and international standards of compliance, the lender said in a ... Read more

Singer’s profits drop despite rising sales

Business Desk: dhakamirror.com Although Singer Bangladesh logged higher sales between July and September this year, the company still incurred losses in the quarter, according to a press release. Sales of the multinational electronic and home appliance company were 12.8 per cent higher at Tk 520 crore in the July-September quarter compared to the same period ... Read more

Foodpanda sponsored Bangladesh’s Street Child World Cup team

Business Desk: dhakamirror.com Foodpanda donated €5,000 to the LEEDO squad representing Bangladesh at the Street Child World Cup 2022 in Doha. A Jersey Handover Ceremony was recently held at foodpanda headquarters. The Street Child World Cup Doha 2022 took place 8-15 October and brought impoverished children from around the world together for a football game, ... Read more

bKash partners with wagely to make it easier for RMG workers to access their earned wages

The facility will help RMG employees handle their emergency fund Business Desk: dhakamirror.com Wagely Bangladesh Ltd (wagely) will give Earned Wage Access (EWA) to garment workers who use bKash’s payroll system. With this feature, employees can get already-earned income before payday through their bKash account, helping them handle emergency money, according to a press release. ... Read more

Apex Footwear announces offers on anniversary

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com Apex Footwear yesterday launched its 25-year celebration campaign at The Daily Star Centre in Dhaka, where the company announced some offers and customer engagement activities that will be available at each outlet across the country till the end of December. Conditions apply on all the offers, which include lucky 25, spin ... Read more

Grameenphone reported 5.7% revenue increase in Q3 2022

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com Telecom operator Grameenphone has reported revenues of Tk11,286.75 crore for the first nine months of 2022, registering a growth of 5.7% from the same period last year. In the third quarter, the company lost some 2.9 million subscribers owing to a ban on SIM sales imposed by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory ... Read more

Unilever Consumer Care profit increased by 15% in the third quarter

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com Unilever Consumer Care Limited posted 15 per cent higher profit in the third quarter of 2022 compared to a year earlier. The multinational company made a profit of Tk 18.72 crore in the July-September period, up from Tk 16.28 crore in the identical period in 2021. Its earnings per share were ... Read more

Heidelberg Cement continues to incur losses

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com Heidelberg Cement Bangladesh Limited suffered losses in the third quarter of 2022. The multinational cement manufacturer incurred a loss of Tk 3.61 crore in the July-September quarter. It made a profit of Tk 10.79 crore during the same period a year earlier. Thus, the earnings per share of the company were ... Read more

BGMEA, Fashion Design Council to promote khadi worldwide

Business Desk : dhakamirror.com The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters (BGMEA) and the Fashion Design Council of Bangladesh (FDCB) intend to forge collaboration to promote and develop high-end fashionable garments using home grown fabrics and materials. The willingness was expressed when FDCB President Maheen Khan and Vice President Emdad Haque met with BGMEA President Faruque ... Read more