October 14 will be the first anniversary of launching 3G by TeleTalk in Bangladesh. The state-owned mobile outfit wasn’t required to pay anything for license or spectrum at that time. Authorities said that TeleTalk would pay exactly the same amount the private operators pay once the 3G auction is over. Now TeleTalk is to match the payment of Grameenphone (US$210 million + 5% VAT), as each of them use 10 megahertz 3G spectrum.
The government strictly realizes payments from the private operators. That’s fine. The very government, however, becomes subjective when it concerns the settlements of TeleTalk’s outstanding dues. Telecom secretary Mr. Md Abubakar Siddique, who also chairs TeleTalk’s board, is pushing for belated payment.
Teletalk may also return half of its allocated 10 MHz spectrum because of its financial weakness, its officials said.
“Advertisements play a big role for mobile operators in raising their earnings. But we cannot spend much on ads due to audit objections,” Siddique said.
“It’s not possible for Teletalk to compete with the private mobile operators, but we will survive in the market with our limited resources,” the telecom secretary said.
Regrettably, the people of Bangladesh will keep subsidizing the inefficiency and corruption in TeleTalk.