Teletalk likely to get BTRC nod this week

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission is likely to award a temporary permission for operating a test-run of 3G mobile phone service to state-owned Teletalk, initially for a period of six months, ending weeks of tussle with the telecommunication ministry.
A formal assurance in this regard is expected to come within a week, sources in BTRC said.
Although the BTRC had initially opposed a telecommunication ministry move to give Teletalk the 3G franchise without any bidding or auction, the ministry last week asked BTRC to take steps to give the state-run company the approval for a trial run, it was learnt.
‘The commission may give Teletalk approval for commercial test run of 3G technology for an initial period of six months,’ said a commission official on Saturday.
He said the state-owned company would get a formal assurance to roll out 3G technology within a week.
The BTRC had earlier said that if Teletalk was given the chance for 3G trial run without any bidding, it would create uneven competition in the country’s mobile telephone market that has five other private operators.
The ministry, however, said that it was the government’s choice that Teletalk should be given the franchise for trial run of 3G.
The BTRC’s assurance would allow Teletalk to operate its Tk 1,900 crore network expansion project for 3G with Tk 1,477 crore loan from China Exim Bank, said ministry officials.
A high-profile meeting chaired by prime minister Sheikh Hasina in August had decided to award 3G licence to private mobile phone operators through open auction.
The telecommunication minister, Raziuddin Ahmed, at that time had said that 3G spectrum would be auctioned after six months of test-run by Teletalk beginning from March 26, 2012.
The third generation technology, popularly known as 3G, would make mobile telephony much more efficient with high-speed data transfer facilitating users to watch mobile TV, make video calls, use navigation equipment and access many other services.
BTRC chairman Zia Ahmed told New Age on Saturday that the commission would give Teletalk assurance of getting the 3G licence. ‘But other terms and conditions, including the financial ones, for awarding a licence to Teletalk have not yet decided,’ he said.
Sources in the commission said that BTRC had short-listed five companies for appointing a consultant for handling the 3G auction for private operators.
The total number of mobile subscribers of six operators in Bangladesh stood at 7.97 crore at the end of August.
India last year auctioned 71 3G licences for different areas of the country for $14.6 billion.

-With New Age input

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