Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- Bangladesh is likely to open the WiMax and International Gateways technology shortly, the telecoms regulator said on Thursday.

“Anyone can apply for a licence to operate the WiMax and IGWs, as there is huge demand in the market for the technologies,” Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Chairman Zia Ahmed told reporters in the capital, Dhaka.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a workshop on ‘Recent Trends in IP Telephony’ at Sheraton Hotel in Dhaka, the BTRC chairman also said the license will be made available within three months, after revising the present International Long Distance Telecommunication Services (ILDTS) policy.

Private sector stakeholders now hold three IGWs and two WiMax licences in the South Asian country. The WiMax license acquisition fee was fixed at US$31.16 million (BDT 21.5 billion) through an auction by BTRC in 2008.

Regarding opening up the VoIP (voice over internet protocol) technology, Mr. Ahmed said: “Like others, I want to say that VoIP must be opened. But for that, a suitable environment is required.”

The government has issued three licenses to the private sector to handle international calls to and from Bangladesh. The operators are handling more than 20 million minutes calls a day, with a revenue sharing of 62.5 percent with the government, officials confirmed.

BBN/SI/SS/AD-22May09-2:19 am (BST)