Banglalink to spend $309 mn for 3G and 4G spectrum in Bangladesh

Banglalink has bagged technology neutral spectrum in the 1800 and 2100 MHz bands in Bangladesh – as part of its mobile Internet strategy.

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Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), according to the result of the spectrum auction, will offer 5.6 MHz paired spectrum in the 1800 MHz band and 5 MHz paired spectrum in the 2100 MHz band to Banglalink, a subsidiary of the Russian telecom giant VEON.

Bangladesh has a mobile Internet subscriber base of 75 million in 2017. The mobile market is dominated by GrameenPhone with 65.327 million, Robi Axiata with 42.9 million, Banglalink with 32.38 million and TeleTalk with 4.49 million subscribers, according to telecom statistics released by BTRC.

The technology neutral spectrum will allow Banglalink to double its 3G network capacity in Bangladesh. Moreover, Banglalink will also acquire a 4G/LTE license in parallel in order to launch a high-speed data network.

Banglalink will pay $308.6 million for the spectrum excluding VAT. Banglalink will make an upfront payment of 60 percent for the spectrum in 30 days and the remaining 40 percent in over four years.

In addition, the company will pay $35 million to convert its existing spectrum in 900MHz and 1800MHz into technology neutral spectrum and $1.2 million to acquire the 4G / LTE license.

The investment will be funded through locally available cash and by the BDT-denominated facility signed by Banglalink in December 2017.

Jean-Yves Charlier, chief executive officer of VEON, said: “Securing this spectrum boosts our spectrum holding by over 50 percent in Bangladesh and creates momentum for the turnaround of the Banglalink business.”

Baburajan K