Adrenaline didn’t flow in Bangladesh 3G auction today. It could be anything but auction when four bidders show up for four licenses. Bangladesh government has priced US$20 million per Megahertz for 40 MHz of spectrum in 2100 MHz band. It is in addition to 10 MHz spectrum being assigned to state-owned Teletalk. Theoretically, Grameenphone (Telenor), Banglalink (Vimpelcom), Robi (Axiata) and Airtel (Bharti Airtel) could have had at least 10 MHz each. The regulator was equipped with software and a Consultant to conduct the over-hyped 3G auction this morning. It was, however, a flop show.
During the first round, Grameenphone has offered US$21 million per MHz for a 10-MHz block. Silence crawled in the room thereafter. It became clear that the mobile industry of Bangladesh refuses to pay more than 0.5% of the floor price for 3G spectrum. Grameenphone got what it wanted and the others happily walked out with 5 MHz each during the second round of bid. As a result, the government has ended up with 15 MHz (37.5%) of unsold 3G spectrum worth $315 million. That is in brief the boring story of 3G spectrum auction in Bangladesh, which is another vote of no-confidence to the abysmal regulatory environment.
(Note: A correction was made on the volume of unsold spectrum.)