Spectrum auction moved to 10 June; BTRC wants new entrants in event of cellco boycott

6 May 2015

Bangladesh’s upcoming 1800MHz/2100MHz mobile spectrum auction has been deferred for the third time, with applications now due in by 24 May and the bidding scheduled for 10 June 2015, under recommendations submitted by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to the telecoms ministry, The Daily Star reports. As it stands, the country’s main mobile network operators are refusing to participate in the auction before resolving a ‘SIM replacement’ tax issue with the government, but the BTRC has indicated that in the absence of the major cellcos the auction will be thrown open to all competition, scrapping earlier guidelines which restricted the bidding to existing cellcos. Rajeev Sethi, CEO of cellular market leader GrameenPhone, told a press conference this week: ‘Without resolving the long pending SIM replacement tax issue, we can’t take part in the spectrum auction.’