Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has selected four companies from eight applicants for mobile phone tower sharing company licences.
The telecom regulator finalised the decision at a special commission meeting held on Sunday, a senior official of the commission told New Age. Licences, however, would be awarded to the companies after getting approval from the posts,telecommunications and information technology ministry.
The decision was finalised based on a report of the 15-member evaluation committee that assessed the applications under the criteria mentioned in the tower sharing licencing guidelines. The evaluation process was conducted under the ‘beauty contest’ method.
The telecom regulator, within the extended deadline of June 11 this year for the application submission, received eight applications for tower sharing company licences. Of the applicants, edotco Bangladesh Company Limited, an associate company of Axiata Group’s edotco group, got the highest — 91 marks. edotco Bangladesh is the lone entity out of the eight applicants that is already in operation in the tower sharing business in Bangladesh.
To fulfil the tower sharing licensing conditions, the country’s second largest mobile phone operator, Robi, has already withdrawn its ownership from edotco.
Greencon Tower Company Limited is the local partner and edotco Group is the foreign partner of edotco Bangladesh Limited.
TASC Summit Towers Limited got the second highest (88 marks) as per the evaluation committee report.
TASC Tower, a UK-based entity that was founded in 2017, and Global Holding Corporation Private Limited, the holding company of an Indian shared passive telecom infrastructure company GTL Infrastructure Ltd, are the foreign partners of TASC Summit Towers.
ISON Tower Bangladesh Private Limited, renamed as Kirtonkhola Tower Bangladesh Limited, became the third as it got 85 marks.
Confidence Tower Holdings Limited is the local partner of Kirtonkhola and ECP Tower Singapore Pte is the foreign partner of the entity. AB Hightech Consortium became the fourth entity as per the BTRC’s evolution committee with 82 marks.
AND Telecom Limited, AB Hightech International Limited, ZN Enterprise Limited, Synergy Logistic Limited and Orange Digital Limited are the local shareholders of AB Hightech.
China Communications Services International Limited and Changshu Fengfan Power Equipment Company Limited are the foreign partners of AB Hightech Consortium.
Jamuna Tower Limited got 80 marks to become fifth, while FTA Bangladesh Limited became sixth with 75 marks and BD Tower Business Company Limited became seventh with 69 marks.
On the other hand, Bangladesh Telecommunication Company Limited became disqualified as it does not have any foreign partner. Tower companies will be liable to own, build and maintain all the telecom towers and operators including all mobile and other telecom service providers will take service from them. Mobile phone operators have more than 30,000 towers across the country, according to BTRC data.
The government has allowed foreign entities to hold highest 70 per cent stake in a tower sharing company, while the local entities will have to hold minimum 30 per cent shares in the company. Licence acquisition fee and annual fee have been set at Tk 25 crore and Tk 5 crore respectively.
Besides, licensees will have to share 5.5 per cent of their revenue with the government and another 1 per cent with the social obligation fund from the second year of getting licences. Each licensee will also have to give performance bank guarantee worth Tk 20 crore to the BTRC and the telecom regulator would encash up to 50 per cent of the performance bank guarantee phase by phase for the licensee’s failure in fulfilling the rollout obligation. The tenure of the licence would be 15 years initially that would be extended gradually by five years.