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Orascom Telecom Bangladesh in $263M licence renewal

Egyptian group Orascom Telecom's Bangladesh unit will pay 19.8 billion taka ($263 million) over three years in spectrum and licence renewal fees, it said on Monday.

September 27, 2011 11:24 by

Orascom Telecom Bangladesh received the renewal guidelines, which include details of the fees, for its 2G licence after a year of negotiations with the government.

The new guidelines set by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission stated the licence will be valid for a 15-year period, OT said.

Orascom Telecom shares were trading 3.4 percent higher at 1115 GMT.

Apart from Orascom’s Banglalink, three mobile operators, including top carrier Grameenphone , third-ranked player Robi and fifth-ranked Citycell, a joint venture between Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Limited and Singapore Telecommunications , will have to pay fees to renew their 2G licences.

At the end of August, the number of mobile phone users in Bangladesh stood at 79.68 million, of which Banglalink’s subscriber base was 21.62 million.

In comparison, top operator Grameenphone, majority owned by Norway’s Telenor , had nearly 35 million subscribers and third-ranked Robi, majority owned by Malaysia’s Axiata Group, had 15 million users.

Bangladesh’s mobile sector has grown rapidly in recent years, helped by fierce competition among the country’s six operators and by steady economic growth.

The mobile sector is expected to grow to 120 million subscribers over the next five years, telecoms analysts have said.

Mobile phone services have emerged as an important contributor to the cash-strapped nation’s economy. (Reporting By Maha El Dahan; additional reporting by Ruma Paul in Dhaka; Editing by Dan Lalor and Jane Merriman)

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