Bangladesh Internet Exchange Ltd (BIEL) – an ISP which forms part of the Bangladeshi-Russian wireless broadband venture operating under the Ollo brand – has confirmed in a press release that it has completed payment for the country’s third Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) licence award which was approved last November, permitting Ollo to launch 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) data-only services and mobile WiMAX using newly issued frequencies in the 2500MHz-2690MHz band.
BIEL confirmed that its BWA licence was officially granted on 20 November 2013 by the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) after it paid half of the total BDT2.457 billion (USD31 million) licence acquisition and spectrum fee (CommsUpdate reported the BWA licence was approved in early November 2013 by the telecoms ministry following a recommendation from the BTRC). BIEL’s release adds that it paid the final instalment of the asking price on 4 February 2014.
BIEL has operated as a licensed ISP in Bangladesh since 2007, with a 3500MHz WiMAX 802.16e network covering areas of the capital city Dhaka including Uttara, Gulshan, Banani, Mohakhali, Dhanmondi, Motijheel and surrounding areas, offering wireless broadband internet connections for businesses and private customers. BIEL says its goal is to play a major part in bridging the digital divide by making access to the internet universal, ubiquitous and affordable for every Bangladeshi via LTE technology, supporting the nation’s Digital Bangladesh programme.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Ollo is a joint venture between two Bangladeshi ISPs – BIEL and New Generation Graphics Limited (NGGL) – and the former’s Russian-based parent company Multinet, which bought BIEL in 2011 and injected capital into the newly formed Ollo joint brand, with additional investment from the Russian ICT Group. Currently Ollo offers WiMAX (802.16e) 3.5GHz fixed-wireless internet in Dhaka (where the mobile capabilities of the technology were previously disabled under the joint venture’s fixed licences), but its November 2013 BWA licence win allows it to offer WiMAX mobility and includes a new allocation of 2.5GHz band spectrum for LTE-based services. The previous month the BTRC and the telecoms ministry implemented amendments to the BWA licences held by mobile WiMAX operators Banglalion and Qubee to include the operation of LTE wireless broadband (data-only) services. Ollo, Banglalion and Qubee may roll out either FDD or TDD variant LTE data-only services under their amended BWA concessions.