BTRC allows Bangladesh telcos to pay spectrum fees in local currency

BTRC allows Bangladesh telcos to pay spectrum fees in local currency

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has reportedly decided to let mobile operators pay spectrum fees in local currency rather than the costlier option of US dollars.

According to the Daily Star, the BTRC has been deliberating on the issue since August 2023, when it asked operators what currency they wanted to use to pay for spectrum acquired during the country’s most recent spectrum auction in 2022. In that auction, Bangladesh’s four mobile operators paid a total of US$1.23 billion for 190 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum.

Banglalink, Grameenphone, and Robi responded in October 2023, saying they wished to pay in taka rather than US dollars – partly because paying in local currency is the norm in most of South Asia, but also because the US dollar has been growing stronger against the taka in recent years.

Exchange rate data shows that one US dollar currently trades at around Tk 117, compared to around Tk 86 in March 2022 when the spectrum auction took place. The US dollar gain on the taka has had a significant impact of foreign currency reserves, the report said.

BTRC commissioner Sheikh Reaz Ahmed confirmed to the newspaper that the regulator has decided to grant the operators’ request to pay the 2022 spectrum fees in taka, although he added that, “If specified, the fee will have to be settled on the basis of the dollar rate at the time of payments.”


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