The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has handed over a unified license to three mobile operators (Grameenphone Limited, Robi Axiata Limited and Teletalk Bangladesh Limited) with the aim of increasing development of the telecommunication sector and expansion of information technology and providing next generation technological facilities including 5G at all levels. 

Zunaid Ahmed Palak, State Minister for Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology, was present as the chief guest in the event. The event was organized by BTRC at the main Conference Room of BTRC building in Agargaon of the capital on Monday afternoon and the Chairman of BTRC Prof. Md. Mohiuddin Ahmed presided over.

In the light of the “Regulatory and Licensing Guidelines for Cellular Mobile Services in Bangladesh” guidelines, a unified license titled (a) Cellular Mobile Services Operator License and (b) Radio Communications Apparatus License for Cellular Mobile Services has been handed over in favor of the operators. This has resulted in bringing everything under one license instead of separate licenses and guidelines for earlier 2G, 3G, 4G technologies and spectrum fees. The unified license takes into account availability of sufficient access spectrum and backhaul fiber for 5G as well as permission to use public infrastructure, offshore cloud facilities, roll out obligations, network security etc. After the approval of “Regulatory and Licensing Guidelines for Cellular Mobile Services in Bangladesh” from Department of Posts and Telecommunications on 6 February 2024, it was issued by BTRC on 13 February 2024.

While speaking as the Chief Guest, the State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak said that, all the changes and developments in the telecom sector have been done under the visionary leadership of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his daughter Prime Minister Sheikha Hasina and the guidance and advice of Sajeeb Wazed, Advisor to the Honorable Prime Minister on Information and Communication Technology. Pointing out that the timely decision of BTRC currently has 19 crore mobile subscribers and around 13 crore internet subscribers in the telecommunication sector, he said that the decision to issue a unified license will bring positive results in the telecommunication sector. Stating that the operators will be able to provide high-speed wireless internet facilities to the customers in the future; he said, due to the opportunity to provide multi-dimensional services, the operators will get the benefit of their investment and the revenue collection of the government will also increase. Stating that the use of data is increasing along with voice calls, the state minister advised the operators to launch digital products.

While speaking as the president, the BTRC Chairman Prof. Md. Mohiuddin Ahmed said that, apart from providing modern technical services easily and cheaply to the customers, there is no need to issue a separate license to the operators for the new technology, telecommunication technology has expanded so much that the number of mobile connections and internet subscribers is constantly increasing in the country. He said that the spectrum has already been allocated in favor of the operators for the implementation of 5G technology and there will be no complications in providing new technical services including 5G as a result of the issuance of a unified license. He urged the mobile operators to implement all the services under the unified license as soon as possible.

In his welcome speech, Director General of Spectrum Division of BTRC Brigadier General Mohammad Moniruzzaman Jewel said that, 5G and next generation mobile services and unified license will play an important role in building smart Bangladesh. He also said that BTRC is working to ensure that sufficient spectrum and access frequencies are available by 2035.

Grameenphone Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Yasir Azman commented that the unified license is a major achievement for all telecom operators in the country.

Robi’s Chief Corporate and Regulatory Officer Mohammad Sahedul Alam said that the unified license will play an important role in ensuring quality service in the telecom sector.

AKM Habibur Rahman, Managing Director of Teletalk Bangladesh Limited, thanked Department of Posts and Telecommunications and BTRC for quickly handing over the new licensing guidelines to the operators.

Various telecommunication regulators and technology manufacturers around the world are increasingly moving towards the commercial implementation of versatile services through 5G technology, considering the practical aspects of mobile broadband, Internet of Things (IoT) and the concepts of creating more reliable and lower latency networks. Bangladesh has already selected 3 bands 2.3 GHz, 2.6 GHz and 3.5 GHz to provide 5G technology services. On March 31, 2022, 70.00 MHz spectrum from 2.3 GHz band and 120.00 MHz spectrum from 2.6 GHz band were allotted through auction in favor of 4 mobile operators, which are currently being used for providing 4G services.

Commercial cellular mobile service licenses were first issued in 1996 as 2G licenses, which were renewed in 2011 for 15 years until 2026. In 2013, 3G licenses were awarded to four mobile operators for a period of 2028. Later in 2018, 4G licenses were awarded to four operators in favor till 2033. At present, cellular mobile services are being provided in the country under these licences.

Among others, the Commissioner of Spectrum Division, Prof. Sheikh Riaz Ahmed, Commissioner of Finance, Accounts and Revenue Division was present at the event. Mushfiq Mannan Chowdhury, Commissioner of Legal and Licensing Department Md. Aminul Haque, Director General of Administration Department Mr. Abdullah Al Mamun, Director General of Systems and Services Department Brigadier General Mohammad Khalil-ur-Rehman, Director General of Engineering and Operations Department Brigadier General Kazi Mustafizur Rahman, Legal and Licensing Director General of the Department Ashish Kumar Kundu, promotion officers of the Department of Posts and Telecommunications, directors of various departments of the Commission and representatives of mobile operators were present.

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