Bangla Lion Communications, Brac BDmail Network Ltd and Augere Wireless Broadband Limited Bangladesh – won Licenses to operate as WiMAX operators in Bangladesh. These 3 companies won in the auction for a record breaking 31 million dollar or 215 crore taka. The previous record for WiMAX license fee was in Singapore (18 million Dollar).
Nine companies took part in the auction that held in the Radisson Hotel yesterday (24th September, 2008). Other six companies were – Bangladesh Internet Exchange Limited, Clearstream Rank (BD) Ltd, Mango Teleservices Ltd, P-1 Consortium, Telestart Communications Ltd and Vtel Bangla.
Each of the companies have been alloted a chunk of 35 MHz frequency to operate. Mobile phone companies and relevant companies were barred to participate in this process.
According to the conditions in the license, the three companies will have to setup atleast 90 base stations within the first year and should start providing services by September 2009. Moreover, the whole country should be under coverage within three yeas. The service will consists of wireless data over a long distance, point to point and even cellular mobile data access.
Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commision estimates that the number of internet users will exceed 1 crore once WiMAX becomes fully functional.
This indeed is a great news for all tech savvy people in Bangladesh, but some of the facts also suggests that WiMAX will not be any cheaper mean. Companies spending such a huge money will definitely try to get their money back. In a TV interview Mr. Mannan of Bangla Lion Communication said that they achieved the license spending a huge money which they want to cut loose by getting a foreign company who will co-invest with them. Besides, the equipments will still be very expensive for the end users. It will simply be a replacement of the current radio link point to point technology. Mobile data access has already been in Bangladesh for quite a long time. Introduction of 3G will also boost the existing mobile data services. Mobile phone companies will try to adopt 3G (Which is also almost as fast service as WiMAX) to compete with WiMAX. Since mobile phone companies already have a huge subscribers base and the 3G equipments (Mobile phones) are well within the reach of end users, 3G is in a better position to get attention by the Bangladeshis while the reach of WiMAX will boost the corporate sector for their ever growing demand of faster and wider data transfers.
WiMAX or 3G, whatever it is, Bangladesh is adopting newer technologies quicker than many other countries – and these facts are enough to make us optimistic. Since ours is a small country with a huge population and limited resources, technologically sound population will be able to produce more using brain power and technology instead of industrialization- which we can’t afford in reality.