News From Telecom World

WiMax bidders in ‘double bind’ (Bangladesh)

Posted on: December 17, 2008

The Tk 215 crore bid price for each WiMax licence acquisition has become a ‘double bind’ for the telecom regulator, as majority of the seven bidders are now reluctant to have the technology at such a price.

Three bidders — BanglaLion Communication, BRAC BD Mail Network Ltd and Augere Wireless Broadband Bangladesh Ltd — won the WiMax licences through an auction organised by BTRC in September this year.

However, BRAC later refused to take the licence. Then BTRC called the fourth bidder, Btel, to take the licence. But Btel and also Bangladesh Internet Access and Pocket One refused to take the pricey licence.

BTRC officials said the deadline for BTel, the fourth bidder for WiMax, expired recently and it also refused to pay 50 percent of the bid money, saying the licence fee is ‘too much’.

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) had to knock at the seventh bidder (Mango Telecom) to receive WiMax licence as four other bidders refused to bite the so-called hot cake, but Mango is yet to respond.

Chairman of BTRC Manzurul Alam yesterday (16 Dec ‘08) said, “We have nothing to do if bidders hike price during the auction.” He also hinted that BTRC will not go for further initiatives for the third operator, if everyone refuses to take the licence at the bidding price.

“If none takes, two private WiMax operators along with Bangladesh Telecommunication Company Ltd (BTCL) will provide broadband services,” he said.

Industry insiders said the foreign equity partners of the local WiMax bidders refused to invest in the sector as they say the high auction price is not viable in the market like Bangladesh.

The BTRC distributed 35 MHz spectrums to each winner. As per the WiMax guidelines, three companies will have to start operations by March 2009.

Bangladesh’s high-speed wireless internet market will be introduced by launching WiMax technology. At present, the country has one million internet users. Bangladesh is also one of the lowest internet-penetrated countries with having less than one percent internet users.

WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a wireless digital communication system that can provide broadband wireless access across 30 miles for fixed phone, and 3-10 miles for mobile stations.

Source: Daily Star


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