Finance minister permits spectrum price changes

Finance minister permits spectrum price changes


The finance ministry has approved the Post and Telecommunication Division’s proposal to change base prices of unused 2G and 3G spectrum in auction.In a recent letter to the division, the ministry has also fixed licence fees and other charges for new operators, if up for auction.The changed base price for the unused spectrum, both 2G and 3G, has been fixed at $25 million per megahertz.In a guideline, the base price for the unused 2G spectrum had earlier been set at $30 million and 3G at $22 million.BTRC drew up the guideline to sell 10.6 megahertz of its unused 1,800 megahertz 2G spectrum and 15 megahertz of its unused 2,100 megahertz 3G spectrum in February last year.It had fixed dates for the auction twice but failed to hold it.

The finance ministry retained the bid earnest money for the auction set in the guideline – Tk 1.5 billion.Licence fee for a new operator has been fixed at Tk 100 million and annual renewal fees Tk 50 million.A top BTRC official told the issue of the licence fee for new operators was raised because private land-phone and WiMax operators will also be able to take part in the auction along with mobile-phone operators.The telecoms division sent a letter to the finance ministry for its clearance on fees, charges and conditions mentioned in the guideline in January. Now the ministry has replied to that letter.The mobile operators in March last year sent a letter to the finance ministry saying that they would not take part in the auction since their demands had not been met.Their demands included withdrawal of VAT on sold spectrum, settlement of a case over tax on replacing SIM cards, revision of telecom law, freedom to use spectrum and revision of tariff structure.


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