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Summit delivers first mobile tower to Banglalink under the new licencing regime

  • Published at 10:38 pm November 16th, 2020
Mobile towers
Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The mobile tower, which is the first of the 259 that Summit will provide the country’s number three carrier, went live on Sunday

Summit Towers and Banglalink have inaugurated their first mobile tower at Siddhirganj in Narayanganj, the first under the new tower-sharing arrangement introduced by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission in 2018 for cost efficiency.

The mobile tower, which is the first of the 259 that Summit will provide the country’s number three carrier, went live on Sunday.

“This is a very important milestone,” said Pierre Boutros Obeid, chief technology officer of Banglalink.

To rationalise the number of towers in the country and give smaller operators a fair shot, the government in 2018 decided to separate the network business from telecom services.

Accordingly, in October that year, the BTRC awarded the licences for tower operation to four companies: edotco Bangladesh, Summit Towers, Kirtonkhola Tower Bangladesh and AB Hightech Consortium.

Since the awarding of tower licences, the mobile operators were forbidden from setting up any new towers of their own as this exercise would be taken over by the four new tower companies.Maintenance and relocation were also forbidden. 

The licence makes the companies responsible for building, maintaining, and renting out towers to mobile operators, internet service providers, and WiMAX operators.

The four companies were supposed to take over the towers from the mobile operators and also build new ones. 

Save for edotco, none of the tower licence holders has been able to start their operations within the deadline of May 1, 2019, meaning virtually no new towers were set up in the country in the past two years amidst a fast-growing demand -- leaving mobile operators in a limbo.

Earlier in February this year, the BTRC had finalised a service-level agreement (SLA) that would enable companies awarded tower-sharing licences to begin operations.

On November 5, the BTRC held a meeting with the stakeholders, where it was decided that Summit Towers and AB HighTech Consortium would set up 559 mobile towers within the next three months for Banglalink and Robi respectively.

Summit Towers will set up 259 towers for Banglalink and AB HighTech 300 towers for Robi.

“BTRC is always interested in exploring the possibilities of new regulatory frameworks for enabling telecom operators to serve their customers better," said Md Jahurul Haque, chairman of BTRC.

Summit Group had been working towards infrastructure development of the country over the last four decades and its entrance in telecom infrastructure a decade ago has now been bolstered with the addition of the new mobile tower, said Md Arif Al Islam, managing director and chief executive officer at Summit Communications, in a press release.

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