The Financial Express

BTRC won't cut spectrum fees

| Updated: January 05, 2020 11:39:30

Evaly and Fianancial Express Evaly and Fianancial Express
BTRC won't cut spectrum fees

BTRC chairman Jahurul Haque said on Thursday spectrum fees for mobile operators are high but they cannot cut the charge now against the telcos' demand for a reduction.

"Operators have been complaining that spectrum fees are high. We've examined and compared with other countries and found ours are high," he told a press meet.

"They can't provide quality service and purchase necessary spectrum. Fees are high, it is true; but we can't cut the price so easily as the way we raised it."

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) chair said the regulator cannot reduce spectrum fees as they require finance ministry's approval.

Replying to another query, he said the BTRC did not submit any proposal to the ministry to reduce the fees.

Mr Haque said the regulator will move for a reduction in fees if operators place any formal proposal.

At an auction in February 2018, Bangladesh raised Tk 52.89 billion in revenue from 4G frequency allocation and tech-neutrality fees from three operators.

Grameenphone (GP) and Banglalink paid Tk 38.44 billion for new frequencies.

The country's second-largest operator Robi went for tech neutrality at that time for using available frequencies to offer 4G services.

The BTRC earned Tk 14.45 billion as tech neutrality fees from three operators: GP, Banglalink and Robi.

Operators demanded reduction of spectrum fees during auction, but the BTRC did not pay attention.

At the event, Mr Haque said the regulator would take action against the GP if it does not pay Tk 20 billion within three months as per a court order.

"Almost one and half months have gone and after three months we will take action if the GP doesn't comply with the court's decision," he added.

On November 24 last year, the Supreme Court directed the GP to pay the BTRC Tk 20 billion out of Tk 125.79 billion within three months.

The BTRC chair said they will take action according to the telecoms law and the law of the land.

"We won't do anything out of law," he cited.

Mr Haque again blamed the telcos for their non-compliance with BTRC rules and lingering audit claim issues by going to court.

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