Permission for data offloading to WiFi affected 3G auction
The scope encouraged mobile operators to buy low sprectrum: BTRC officialsAhmed Shawki
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission’s auction for 3G service licences flopped because of the BTRC’s decision to allow mobile phone companies to offload cellular data to WiFi network just before the auction, said officials.
BTRC officials said all the operators bought lowest possible spectrum in the auction held on September 8 because the telecom regulator in June this year allowed mobile phone companies to offload their cellular data to WiFi network, a low-cost network which allows smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras and all other WiFi-enabled devices connect to the internet using radio waves.
In the 3G auction, four operators — Grameenphone, Banglalink, Robi and Airtel— bought 25 MHz spectrum from available 40MHz without any competition by paying only $21 million for each MHz whereas the opening base price was $20 million a MHz.
The government had expected that it would net in revenue worth at least $800 million from four licences but it could only get $525 million as GP took 10MHz at $210 million, Banglalink, Robi and Airtel took 5 MHz each at $105 million an operator.
After the 3G auction BTRC chairman Sunil Kanti Bose told reporters that the operators who took 5MHz spectrum would not be able to ensure 3G service quality with such low spectrum.
But mobile operators on different occasions said that they would be able to ensure 3G service quality.
‘It is not possible for the mobile operators to provide optimal 3G service with the spectrum they bought if they cannot share it to WiFi network,’ a senior BTRC official told New Age.
He said that the BTRC’s approval for offloading data to WiFi network would allow mobile operators to offload 2G or 3G data traffic into the WiFi network which is one of the cheapest networks in the world.
‘Allowing operators such privilege just before 3G auction eased the pressure of purchasing high spectrum for 3G service. Why will someone buy million-dollar spectrum if they can offload additional data to WiFi network in whatever amount they want?’
Another BTRC official said that in terms of subscribers’ base all mobile phone companies bought same amount of spectrum though it looked like that Grameenphone bought higher spectrum compared to others.
‘Banglalink and Robi each have subscribers little more than 2 crore and they bought 5MHz spectrum each while GP has 4.2 crore subscribers and it bought 10MHz spectrum. So, the companies bought 5MHz spectrum for every 2.2 crore subscriber,’ he said.
He said that the mobile phone companies were confident about 3G service quality as they were recently awarded facility of offloading cellular traffic to WiFi network.
‘In the developed market, regulator imposes usage cap or charges additional money for offloading cellular data to WiFi network to sustain the value of mobile network spectrum. But in our country we did the opposite,’ he said.
Robi’s chief technical officer AKM Morshed at a press briefing on Monday admitted that they were going to offload additional 2G and 3G data users to WiFi network.
‘It is a standard practice all over that world. But it does not mean we will not be able to serve our 3G customers with 5MHz spectrum,’ he said.
CTO of another mobile company told New Age that there would be two possible ways of offloading the cellular data to WiFi.
‘One way could be user-driven where users will be notified about the network shifting and such a shift will be subject to users’ permission if it has separate billing system. Another way could be operator-driven where the mobile company can shift the users without informing,’ he said.
There was a criticism that the BTRC high-ups changed the auction process several times to favour mobile phone companies and to do away the competition factor which made the 3G auction competition less.
comments powered by Disqus
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission’s auction for 3G service licences flopped because of the BTRC’s decision to allow mobile phone companies to offload cellular data to WiFi network just before the auction, said officials. BTRC officials said all the operators bought lowest possible... Full story
The Bangladesh Bank on Tuesday asked the scheduled banks to open bank accounts with an initial deposit of Tk 100 for readymade garments workers so that the workers could receive their wages and allowances through the accounts. To this end, the BB issued a circular to managing directors and chief executive officers... Full story
The fourth weeklong income tax fair on Tuesday drew huge number of visitors at the fair venues including at the Officers’ Club in Dhaka for receiving income tax-related services and information from the tax officials. Overcoming the technical glitches that marred the first day of the fair, the National Board... Full story
Sonali Bank on Tuesday said that its large amount of defaulted loans was the main obstacle on the bank’s way to surge forward. The bank faced troubles in 2012 due to a financial scam at its Ruposhi Bangla branch, which pushed up the bank’s... Full story
Dhaka stocks declined on Tuesday despite an increasing turnover as the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on the day sentenced Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Molla to death for committing war crimes during the 1971 war of independence, which made the investors apprehensive about the future on the political front. Full story
Bangladesh and Russia on Tuesday agreed to reach $1 billion two-way trade within a short span of time from the existing $500 million by expediting trade and investment and addressing the challenges. At a discussion at the FBCCI conference room, leaders of the visiting Russian business delegation and the chamber... Full story
In row after neat row, lush green plants cover the fertile plains of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay — soya beans destined for hungry markets in China and Europe. The green fever stems from this: soya is a great, cheap source of protein. And the stuff is here to stay. Cows make... Full story
The World Bank must be more selective and flexible in its work as it faces rising financial constraints and challenges from rivals, according to an internal strategy document seen on Monday. The choices include greater risk-taking, cutting back on bureaucracy and adapting commercial-like work with the... Full story
Novartis said on Tuesday it would investigate allegations published in a Chinese newspaper that its eye care unit Alcon bribed doctors. The 21st Century Business Herald, citing a whistleblower called ‘Zorro’, said that Alcon offered money to doctors in more than 200 Chinese hospitals to push sales of lens implants. Full story
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday published ‘Tax Guide 2013-14’ with a view to creating awareness among entrepreneurs and individuals alike regarding submission of tax. Anwar Hossain, chairman of DCCI Foundation and Anwar Group of Industries, unveiled the guide at the DCCI... Full story
India doubled its import duty on gold jewellery to 15 per cent, the finance ministry said on Tuesday, setting it higher than the duty on raw gold in a move to protect the domestic jewellery industry. ‘To protect the interests of small artisans, the customs duty on articles of jewellery ... is being increased,’ the ministry said. Full story
The British government earned £3.2 billion from selling six per cent of Lloyds Banking Group, it announced Tuesday, placing the part-nationalised lender on course for a full return to the private sector. The coalition government had on Monday launched plans to sell part of its stake in bailed-out LBG after a recent... Full story
The dollar held firm in Asia Tuesday after it slumped following a surprise weekend announcement that the front-runner to head the US Federal Reserve had withdrawn from the race. In Tokyo afternoon trade, the greenback fetched 99.15 yen from 99.11 yen Monday afternoon in New York, while the... Full story
Oil prices fell further in Asian trade Tuesday on receding fears of a disruption in Middle East supply, analysts said. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in October eased 83 cents to $105.76 in afternoon trade, while Brent North Sea crude for November declined 47 cents... Full story