The telecom watchdog is likely to open the WiMax and International Gateways technology shortly, said the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission chairman yesterday."Anyone can apply for a licence to operate the WiMax and IGWs, as there is huge demand in the market for the technologies," Zia Ahmed said."The licence will be made available within three months, after revising the present International Long Distance Telecommunication Services (ILDTS) policy,” he added.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a workshop on 'Recent Trends in IP Telephony at Sheraton Hotel, he also said the new licence fee for both the technologies will be lower than the previous rate. REVE Systems, a leading IP Telephony solution provider with customers in more than 50 countries, organised the workshop.Private sector stakeholders now hold three IGWs and two WiMax licences. The WiMax licence acquisition fee was fixed at Tk 215 crore through an auction by BTRC last year.
However, questions arose as to how the former high cost of licence would be justified, if BTRC reduces licence prices. Ahmed said in response, "The government is considering whether the existing hefty licence fee would be repaid to the licensees. But everything will be settled after revising the ILDTS policy."Ahmed also supported the idea of opening up the VoIP (voice over internet protocol) technology. "Like others, I want to say that VoIP must be opened. But for that, a suitable environment is required."
The past caretaker government issued three licences to the private sector to handle international calls to and from Bangladesh. The operators are handling more than 20million minutes calls a day, with a revenue sharing of 62.5 percent with the government.Among the two WiMax licence holders, no one is yet to go for service operation. The Tk 215 crore hefty licence fee has become an obstacle for the operators to start.The BTRC chief's idea to float more IGW licences is making the existing private sector operators anxious.