Bangladeshi mobile operators look set to be charged for spectrum for the first time, with the government setting a base rate of 1.5 billion taka ($20 million) per MHz.
The government has finalized plans to charge Grameenphone, Bangalink, Robi and Citycell spectrum fees when they renew their licenses for the next 15 years, the Daily Starreported yesterday.
Prices will be adjusted based on a “market competition factor” including the number of customers, meaning that incumbent Grameenphone will need to pay more than its rivals.
The base rate will be the same across all frequency bands operators hold spectrum in.
Cabinet also approved plans to charge operators 5% of their income, but cut the “social obligation” fee to fund digital initiatives from 1.5% of profits from the 1.5% first proposed.
Operators had been resisting the proposed spectrum allocation fee due to fears of the added cost burden. But secretary Sunil Kanti Bose toldbdnews24 that the high charge makes sense because operators had not paid spectrum fees in the last 15 years.
If the government had been charging fees instead of offering spectrum for free to promote investment, it would have collected around 52 billion taka, he said. The finalized charges had been developed following consultation with operators, he added.