Bangladeshi Networks Seek 3G License Meeting Delay Pending Tax Dispute
Bangladesh's mobile networks have asked the regulator to reschedule a pre-bid meeting to discuss the forthcoming 3G license auction, due to the ongoing legal dispute over the payment of sales taxes on license fees.
The six private operators sent a joint letter to the regulator saying that until the VAT issue on their existing GSM licenses is resolved, they cannot be expected to proceed with the 3G auction.
The 3G license auction is due to take place at the end of June.
The mobile networks are embroiled in a dispute over whether they have to pay VAT on their licenses, and if so, whether, as would be usual in business, such a tax payment can be reclaimed.
The proposed 3G licenses include a 15% tax, and there is hence uncertainty about whether the VAT would be reclaimed as usual or not.
TIM Nurul Kabir, secretary general of Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh, told The Daily Star that the operators have requested the rescheduling of the meeting until the VAT rebate issue is resolved.
"However, we are confident of an amicable decision on the much-awaited VAT rebate issue soon," he added.
A total of four 3G licenses are being offered to the private companies in a country that has seven mobile networks. The state-owned Teletalk has been granted 10Mhz of spectrum already, but will need to match the fees paid by the private bidders when the auction takes place.
On the web: The Daily Star