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BTRC to auction 3 int'l gateway licences by mid-Feb PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 14 January 2008

Staff Correspondent

The Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission is expected to auction three licences for international gateway exchanges in the private sector by mid-February after shortlisting the eligible firms to route international calls to and from Bangladesh.

The commission is now evaluating the offers submitted by 42 firms for the licences to set up the gateway exchanges in the private sector to route overseas calls to and from Bangladesh along with Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board.

BTRC officials said an evaluation committee headed by SM Monir Ahmed, a commissioner of the commission, were scrutinising the proposals of the bidders to shortlist the eligible firms for inviting them to participate in the auction.

'We are expecting to complete the evaluation by the end of this month and put the licences under hammer in mid-February,' said an official.

BTRC invited the bids in October from the Bangladeshi enterprises under International Long Distance Telecommunication Services Policy 2007 for setting up the gateway exchanges to break the monopoly of the state-owned telephone board in the international call business.

The policy stipulates that only Bangladeshi citizens living in the country would be eligible to get the licences. The policy also bars the existing mobile and private land phone companies and internet service providers from getting the international gateway licences.

According to the regulatory and licensing guidelines of international gateway licence, the auction will be based on open bids and the bidders will bid for the percentage of the revenue to be shared with the BTRC.

The bidding will start at sharing 25 per cent of the revenue with the BTRC, and each successive bid will have to be incrementally higher by 0.25 per cent.

The BTRC has also fixed Tk 15 crore as acquisition fee for each international gateway licence.

The licences will be given initially for a 15-year term with an option for renewal after every five year subject to the BTRC's approval. All the three international gateways will be located in Dhaka and must be open to lawful interception by the intelligence agencies.

The guidelines say that the licence holders will set up the international gateway exchanges and launch services within four months from the issuance of the licences.

They will have the primary 'backbone' connection with international networks through the SEA-ME-WE submarine cable and also other submarine cables whenever available.

The licence holders will also have the backup connectivity through the satellite earth station until an alternative submarine cable is available.

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