March 25, 2009

WiMAX in Bangladesh: License holders struggling to pay license fee

Bangladesh WiMAX licensees find it difficult to borrow required funds from banks to pay their license fees as financial institutions have adopted a cautious lending strategy amid the global economic meltdown. The WiMAX license holders had appeared in court to get the deadline extended to deposit the license acquisition fees to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.
"The WiMAX market could not present itself as a bullish business to financial institutions now, due to the global economic crisis," said Mir Masud Kabir, managing director of Mango Telecom. "Financial institutions are extra careful in funding such large projects. It is all about money. But it may be difficult for banks to visualize returns from these business cases," he said.
Mango Telecom agreed to take the WiMAX license as the third private operator after BRAC Net, the second winner of the WiMAX license, surrendered their license amid fears that the technology would not be a financially viable venture after paying the hefty license fee.

The Tk 215 crore bid price for each WiMAX license acquisition had become a 'double bind' for the telecom regulator, as only Augere was able to deposit the license money. After BRAC'S departure from the race, BTRC called others bidder on a chronological basis and Mango Telecom, the seventh bidder, agreed to take the license as the third private WiMAX operator.

Foreign equity owning licensee Augere deposited license fee in due date, whereas others two yet to make full payment. Along with Mango, BanglaLion Communication, the first ranked bidder, is yet to deposit the full license fee to BTRC. BanglaLion, which is aiming to launch its data and internet services through WiMAX by June this year, paid 50 percent of the set license fee.


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