Grameenphone has bought a 5 MHz wave at a record price after a long battle with Robi over a bid to allocate radio or spectrum among mobile operators in Grameenphone, Robi, and Banglalink bought a total of 10.4 MHz and 9.4 MHz waves respectively. The government has received more than Tk 7,500 crore from the operators by selling a total of 26.4 MHz waves in the auction on Monday. The operators will pay 15 percent per annum for the next five years with a start of 25 percent of the money against the allotted wave. Grameenphone hopes that the new wave will improve their customer service but will not put any extra pressure on the customer. On the other hand, Robi says that the quality of phone and internet service of their customers will be further enhanced by using extra waves. Will the service increase in the new wave?
Abu Saeed Khan, a senior research fellow at Learn Asia, a Colombo-based think tank, says the new redistribution will bring some short-term improvements to telecom services, but not long-term benefits. To bring long-term benefits, the government needs to improve the optical fiber infrastructure. Now the infrastructure is being allocated without fixing the waves. He said the connection with the new wave from the base station to the customer’s handheld phone would be of some benefit but the service emanating from the main network would not go properly to the base station due to lack of facilities of optical fiber infrastructure. Mr. Khan said the network needed state-of-the-art infrastructure from start to finish if it wanted a sustainable solution.
What happened at the auction four mobile operators in the country took part in the auction on Monday. At the beginning of the auction, Grameen allocated zero points four, Robi two point two, and Banglalink four point four MHz radio waves for ৮ 31 million per MHz for the 1800 MHz band. Then in the auction of 20 MHz waves of 2100 MHz band, 5 MHz was taken by three operators for 29 million US dollars. Grameen and Robi fought for hours with the remaining five MHz. Despite having a base price of ৭ 26 million, Grameen eventually bought it for 47.75 million. However, the phone companies are saying that it is normal to buy at a higher price than the base price.
It is normal to buy one at a floor price and the other at a higher price. We need more waves. But there are rules and regulations, they have to be obeyed. Now the service will be better. There will be no direct pressure on them, “said an official of a mobile phone company. An official says that even if the waves are taken with a huge amount of extra money, there is nothing to worry about the customer. We have some rules. We also do round-the-clock monitoring. We take action if people complain about the hotline, on the website. We will see what we can do.
But when asked what action would be taken against the mobile operators who could not provide the facility by launching Forge, he said that the installation of the tower was stopped for some reason and now they have been allowed. Towers are being set up in remote areas. At the same time, waves have been allocated. As a result, there will be many benefits ahead. And in the interest of customers BTRC will keep a constant watch,” the BTRC official, who asked not to be named, told BBC Bangla.
What Grameenphone Is Saying
In a written statement, Grameenphone said it was committed to maximizing customer service quality. To this end, the acquisition of an additional 10.4 MHz in the spectrum auction organized by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has brought the total spectrum of Grameenphone to 48.4 MHz.Jens Baker, Acting Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Financial Officer, Grameenphone, said, We are grateful to BTRC and the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications for conducting this successful and transparent auction.
Also, this spectrum will enable Grameen Phone to further contribute to the Digital Bangladesh initiative and meet the growing high-speed internet demand of customers in urban and remote areas.
Grameenphone will continue to work to improve the quality of Forge users’ experience and service through the additional spectrum. Grameenphone is working tirelessly to ensure extensive Forge coverage through the highest number of Forge sites. I wanted to buy five more MHz Robi’s Chief Corporate and Regulatory Officer, Shahid Alam, said in a statement, “We have been able to purchase the required waves as per our target from the latest auction of But for strategic reasons we wanted to take another 5 MHz waves from the last block.
“Because if we could take more of these 5 MHz waves, the cost of building our network infrastructure would be lower and the best position in our network (Network Supremacy) would be much stronger,” he said. At the same time, we were able to ensure faster internet service for our customers than expected,” Robi said in a statement. Even then, the waves we bought in the two bands of 1800 and 2100 MHz will definitely help in increasing the quality of our service, Shahid Alam mentioned in Robi’s statement.
However, mobile operators need much more waves to improve the quality of telecommunication services at the expected level of customers. It is believed that the only quality service can be ensured only if the overall telecommunication ecosystem is improved, including the increase in the use of optical fiber and 4-G devices, along with the initiative to allocate wireless waves in the new bands.