I was asked about charging different amounts for spectrum when I was in Dhaka recently and I said it was like pricing jet fuel differently for competing airlines; it did not make any sense. Now we have the full argument laid out. It’s very peculiar. On what basis was this utilization factor calculated? I asked Dr Harsha de Silva who prepared the comments on the consultation paper; he said it was fully opaque.
Prices of radio spectrum laid out in the complex licence renewal guideline have baffled telecom operators. The charges are too high and different for different operators.
According to the draft 2G licence renewal guideline, radio spectrum prices per megahertz (MHz) are set at Tk 300 crore for the 900 MHz band, Tk 150 crore for the 1,800 MHz band of GSM technology, and Tk 150 crore for the 850 MHz band of CDMA technology.
The actual charges to be paid by the mobile operators are much higher, when the spectrum utilisation factor is taken into account.
In fact, four mobile operators will have to pay a total of Tk 12,118 crore in spectrum fees. Grameenphone will have to pay the highest — Tk 5,504 crore, Banglalink Tk 2,994 crore, Robi Tk 3,000 crore, and Citycell Tk 620 crore, although their renewable radio spectrum volumes are not much different.