Mobile operators in Bangladesh urged the telecoms regulator to release additional spectrum for three months as they face a spike in data usage as lockdown measures sharply boosted demand for mobile services.

While Robi Axiata, Banglalink and Teletalk called on the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to release 20MHz of idle spectrum in the 2100MHz band for free, market leader Grameenphone said it would pay for its 5MHz share, reported The Daily Star, a local newspaper.

Robi Axiata, the second-ranked player by subscribers, said during a press briefing its data usage jumped more than 25 per cent, making it impossible to maintain the same level of service for customers with its current spectrum allocation.

Shahed Alam, chief corporate and regulatory officer at Robi Axiata, told the newspaper that allocating more spectrum is the only alternative, noting that within seven days of receiving spectrum it can significantly raise service quality.

Hossain Sadat, head of regulatory affairs at Grameenphone, said it would take part in discussions with BTRC for the release of more airwaves, The Daily Star added.