Warid Telecom International LLC, a concern of Dhabi Group of the United Arab Emirates, Tuesday won an operating licence at a cost of US $ 50 million to become the sixth cell phone company in Bangladesh.
It will join other operators - GrameenPhone, AKTEL, CityCell, Banglalink and Teletalk. It hopes to start operation in nine months time.
Warid will charge Tk 4.0 per minute for peak hour calls as per its rollout plan.
The company has also deposited Tk 200 million as performance bank guarantee fee. Warid bought a mobile licence in Pakistan through auction at $291 million in 2003.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) chairman Omar Farooq handed over the operating licence to Warid Bangladesh chief executive Belal Faruq at its office.
Chief Technical and account officers of Warid Bangladesh and high officials of the country's telecom watchdog were also present at the licence awarding ceremony.
Warid has won the cell phone licence through competitive bidding. Omniah of Jordan was the Warid's lone rival for the licence.
BTRC decided to award the licence to the company following recommendation of the evaluation committee that favoured Warid for its competitive call charge, quick rollout plan and promise of investment in other sectors in Bangladesh.
Dhabi Group signed a memorandum of understanding with the Board of Investment in September to invest around $1 billion in various sectors in the country including telecom, tourism and pharmaceuticals.
Warid that will use 1710-1765/1805-1860 MHz GSM band has been given the licence for an initial period of 15 years for the whole country. Its licence may be renewed depending on performance.