September 27, 2008

WiMAX license has been distributed in Bangladesh

Three companies, Bangla Lion Communications, Brac Bdmail Network Ltd and Augere Wireless Broadband Bangladesh Ltd, have won licenses to operate WiMAX or Broadband Wireless Access in Bangladesh, a BTRC official said Wednesday. The three firms purchased the licenses in auction for Tk 215 crore. The auction started around 11:30 am at the capital’s Radisson Hotel and ended around 2:45 pm. The nine vying for licenses were Aguri Wireless Broadband Bangladesh Ltd, Bangla Lion Communications, Bangladesh Internet Exchange Ltd, Brac Bdmail Network Ltd, Clearstream Ranks (Bd) Ltd, Mango Teleservices Ltd, P-1 Consortium, Telestar Communications Ltd and Vtel Bangla.

Bangla Lion Communications began by offering 27.50 percent of the revenue to the government, before the contest heated up. The three companies that won will run WiMAX technology that allows wireless data to travel over long distances by various means, from point-to-point links to full mobile cellular type access. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, who will issue the three licenses, has estimated that once WiMAX is functional the number of internet users across the country will cross 1 crore.

September 11 was the deadline for submission of applications. BTRC, who invited applications in August, said a total 12 bid documents were sold, with nine companies eventually submitting their documents. Internet service providers had originally asked the government to open up WiMAX licensing to Bangladeshi organizations qualifying on merit. Mobile operators in Bangladesh and anyone having invested in them were barred from bidding for a BWA license.

According to the license conditions, the winning companies will set up at least 90 base stations in the first year, and the whole country will have to be brought under WiMAX network within three years. Foreign investment in the licensed companies should not be more than 60 percent and non resident Bangladeshis are allowed to invest at 70 percent ownership.


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