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Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on Thursday issued licenses to four firms to operate tower sharing companies in the country’s telecommunication sector, reports BSS.
The firms are edotco Bangladesh Tower Company Limited, TASC Summit Tower, Kirtankhola Tower Bangladesh Limited and AB HiTech Consortium Limited.
Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Mustafa Jabbar handed over the licences to the winning firms at a ceremony at BTRC Conference room.
Edotco Bangladesh Country Manager Rahul Chowdhury, TASC Summit Tower Managing Director Arif Al Islam, Kirtankhola Tower Bangladesh Managing Director Salman Karim and AB HiTech Consortium Managing Director Fazlur Rahman Molla received the license on behalf of their respective companies.
Mentioning that Bangladesh attained another milestone in information technology and telecommunication sector through this tower sharing licenses, Mustafa Jabbar said: “We’ve seen that no legal issue is pending now. So, it is needed to work on old issues such as ILDTS policy, telecom act etc.”
Congratulating the license awardees, the minister said: “The objective of this license has to be kept in mind. The mobile phone operators have been expanding network till this date by building towers. Now I would request them (tower companies) to roll out network. MNOs could strengthen their efficiency in other sectors not making investments in tower.”
Posts and Telecommunications Division Secretary Shyam Sundar Shikder said: “Everyone knows how much work the government has done towards building a digital Bangladesh…those who got license, I hope, would contribute further in the development of the country.”
Expressing optimism that telecom service would be better after starting works of the companies, BTRC acting Chairman Jahurul Haque said: “As per the licensing guidelines, tower companies have to go to all upazilas in the next five years.”
According to the guidelines, the MNOs cannot set up any tower on the basis of roll out of tower companies. Besides, any MNO cannot rent tower to another MNO but they can sell the tower to the tower companies.
Earlier on August 16 this year, the telecom regulator issued “notification of award (NoA)” for the licenses to the four firms. Before the NoA, BTRC in a special commission meeting had finalized the name of the four firms following the evaluation under “beauty contest” manner and forwarded those to the posts and telecommunications division (PTD) for the final approval.
Officials said the decision was finalized based on a report of the 15-member evaluation committee which scrutinized the applications as per the tower sharing licensing guidelines.
Currently, there are 30,000 towers in the country. The telecom regulator received eight applications for the licenses, within the extended deadline of June 11 this year.
As per the guidelines, license acquisition fee has been set at Taka 25 crore while annual renewal fee Taka 5 crore.
Besides, the licensees will have to share 5.5 per cent of their revenue with the government and another 1 per cent with the social obligation fund from the second year of the licenses.
Each licensee will also have to deposit Taka 20 crore as performance bank guarantee and BTRC regulator would encash up to 50 percent of the performance bank guarantee phase by phase in case of licensee’s failure in complying with rollout obligations.
Initially, the license tenure would be 15 years which would extend gradually by five years.