Banglalink plans to invest over $1.0b in three years

Dhaka,  Tue,  22 August 2017
Published : 13 Jul 2017, 22:19:31
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Banglalink plans to invest over $1.0b in three years

Focuses on pro-investment regulatory structure
FE Report


Leading mobile operator Banglalink is planning to invest over US$ one billion over the next three years for expanding its network and strengthening market position, Banglalink's parent company VEON's CEO Jean-Yves Charlier has said.

"The money will also be invested in acquiring additional 3G and 4G spectrum, broadening the range of services offered to the customers, and launching new platforms for digital applications," Charlier, who is now on a visit to the capital, said at a press briefing.

The VEON CEO, however, noted that fostering a pro-investment and pro-consumer regulatory framework is a crucial pre-condition for bringing such a big investment into the country.

Banglalink currently has more than 32 million subscribers in Bangladesh. It has invested over $ 2.51 billion since entering the local market, and also channeled $ 2.4 billion to the public exchequer.

Focusing on the recent release of the draft 3G and 4G guideline, the VEON top boss said his company welcomes the government initiative of introducing 4G in the country.

"However, the combined financial burden of a disproportionate tax regime for the telecommunications sector as well as the significant cost of spectrum forms an obstacle that must be addressed."

Noting that the tax burden and the per Megahertz spectrum fees in the country are among the highest when compared to international benchmarks, he said this can impact their investment capacity in expanding 3G and 4G networks.

The VEON CEO also said Banglalink is willing to sell off its tower portfolio in each of its markets, including Bangladesh, as it no longer considers towers as critical assets for its business.

"Rather, selling off those towers to a specialized company can allow us to unlock precious capital, which we can reinvest in spectrum portfolio, networks and digital initiatives."

Noting that most countries allow telecom operators to undertake active Radio Access Network (RAN) sharing that does not involve the pooling of spectrum, he said it can facilitate more competition in the rural areas and can be critical in the acceleration of 4G coverage.

Banglalink CEO Erik Aas was also present during the event.

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