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Grameenphone seeks 850 band spectrums

Robi Banglalink Teletalk fearing loss

Rabiul Haque: Grameenphone, the country’s largest operator by number of subscribers, has sought spectrum in the 850 band from BTRC. And this is the complication.
Robi Banglalink and Teletalk fear, BTRC may allocate 10 MHz spectrum in 850 band to Grameenphone. Where Band-5 will be uplink-825 to 835 MHz and downlink-870 to 880 MHz. This downlink to the 850 band will cause overlap, interference or interference with the EGSM (Extended GSM) band.
EGSM has primary GSM (GSM-P) band 900 MHz below 10 MHz. This extended range is 880 to 890 MHz and 925 to 935 MHz. And in these 900 bands, Robi has 9 MHz, Grameenphone 7.4 MHz, Banglalink 5 and Teletalk 5.2 MHz spectrum.
Senior Director Corporate Affairs of Grameenphone Hossain Sadat told, “Grameenphone has always believed in transparency and equal opportunities in spectrum allocation. We are in discussions with BTRC on the need to distribute low-band spectrum among operators.
BTRC has considered a POC or proof of concept process with all mobile operators on how the proposed scheme (dual-band release) will be effective in Bangladesh. Once this POC process is complete we hope all confusion will be cleared. We welcome BTRC’s consideration regarding POC and we all need to cooperate in this matter,” Hossain Sadat added.
Objections of Robi Banglalink Teletalk:
If BTRC gives spectrum from 850 band to Grameenphone it will cause customer dissatisfaction first. Violation or interruption of this band will result in customer high call drop, reduced data speed, and reduced call quality.
All three operators have to spend a lot on installing filters. Thousands of sites need to install this filter.
The antenna must be separated or taken at a distance. This can often be difficult in cases where operators have numerous antennas in the same building or adjacent buildings. This will be challenging in cities or more densely populated areas. Outdoor filter maintenance can be complicated. As a result, the customer will suffer a lot.
The current coverage area may be reduced due to the installation of filters.
Robi and Banglalink have officially informed BTRC about these reasons for objection.
Robi’s Chief Corporate and Regulatory Officer Saheed Alam told, BTRC has initiated the POC or Proof of Concept process at our request. We welcome this decision. This will prove what will happen.
“However, we will be sure that we will not suffer or be damaged in any way due to this allocation,” he said.
Banglalink top level officials say that they have informed BTRC about their apprehensions.
Officials concerned with Teletalk say they are looking at BTRC’s decision.
What is BTRC doing?
BTRC wants to allocate this spectrum after verifying the reality. The regulatory body says that it will not take any decision where there is any anomalous situation in the telecom sector or where one operator causes suffering to another operator. First of all, customer interest will be seen there.
BTRC Commissioner Engineer Sheikh Riaz Ahmed told that BTRC is scrutinizing Grameenphone’s application for spectrum in the 850 band. A decision will then be made after seeing what the reaction or problem will be if it is allocated.
Meanwhile, BTRC has continued discussions with all concerned parties. POC or Proof of Concept will be discussed in detail with the operators on February 18 about where and how, what type of equipment will be used. POC is where the entire process is tested in the field to see what the reaction or impact is.
International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Key Reference:
According to the ITU report, Guidance of Regulatory Framework for National Spectrum Management, the principle that the newly allocated spectrum will not cause any deviation or interruption to the previous spectrum.
And in terms of national spectrum management policy, it is stated that the basic principle is to keep the previous service safe from harmful interference or interference.
Apart from Grameenphone, the related top officials of the other three operators say that Grameenphone has asked for this spectrum with the intention of suffering the rest. No one should have any objection to Grameenphone buying spectrum but if it causes suffering to others, creates problems, it is not acceptable.
Some of them say that Grameenphone knows that there may be objections if it wants spectrum in this band. In this if BTRC does not provide spectrum then they can say on quality-of-service issue that the desired quality cannot be ensured due to non-availability of spectrum.
Meanwhile, BTRC is working to organize the entire management related to the spectrum.
How much spectrum in country?
As per radio regulation usable spectrum in Bangladesh is 815 MHz. Where 381.6-megahertz mobile phone operators have already been allocated by various institutions, forces and organizations. Remaining 433.8 MHz.
Of this, mobile phone operators have allocated 376.6 megahertz so far. With the renewal of this spectrum, the operators will also get the remaining 433.8 MHz wave in future.
Already in 2022, Grameenphone and Robi have applied for 20 MHz and 40 MHz spectrum respectively in the 2600 MHz band. Banglalink has also applied for 20 MHz spectrum in the 2300 band.
Where is crisis?
GSM’s observation says that by 2030, a populous country like Bangladesh will need 2,000 MHz of spectrum for all mobile phone operators. According to GSM’s observations, Bangladesh will need more 1185 MHz spectrum in the next 7 years.
BTRC says that 700 and 800 MHz band spectrum is more suitable in remote areas including rural areas of the country. Allocable spectrum in these two bands is 63.4 MHz. Whereas the entire 45 MHz in the 700 band is still allottable and 1.6 MHz has been allocated out of 20 MHz in the 800 band.
The regulator wants to allocate this spectrum by early 2024. On the other hand, if 5G is launched commercially in the country by 2026-2027, 300 MHz spectrum will be allocated in the 3500 MHz band. 300 MHz is the usable spectrum for Bangladesh in the 3500 band.
Then after 2027 BTRC will not have any new band-spectrum to allocate to mobile phone operators.

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