Category Archives: Telecom Sector/Broadband and Internet/WiMAX

Internet infrastructure starts taking shape

Internet infrastructure starts taking shape
Author / Source : FAISAL MAHMUD

DHAKA, JAN 7: The Awami League-led Grand Alliance government has started taking steps to establish an internet infrastructure across the country, to fulfil its electoral pledge of creating a “digital nation”.

For an even expansion of such internet facility, the government has, in the past one week, reduced internet prices in districts by 50 per cent. It also asked six companies to lay out International Terrestrial Cable (ITC) to ensure uninterrupted internet service and re-chalked the roll-out target for a nationwide telecommunication transmission network (NTTN).

From the beginning of 2012, the state-owned Bangladesh Telecommunication Company Ltd (BTCL) is offering broadband connection with speed of up to 256 KB at Tk. 300 in districts. Previously, the price of the same amount of bandwidth was Tk. 600.

The BTCL divisional engineer (internet), Sunil Kumar Adhikari, told The Independent that the BTCL has been providing this package under its leased internet service. “We offer three types of internet connections, namely leased, broadband and dial-up services,” he said.

Adhikari also said that under the leased service, the BTCL uses gigabit Ethernet to connect to the NTTN network. “Under this arrangement, we use the NTTN to provide our services”, he added.

He said the BTCL has also taken other steps to ensure internet service to all. “We’ve already established landphone internet facilities under our dial-up service in 50 districts. Soon, all districts will be brought under this facility,” he affirmed.

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on January 6 handed over licences to six private companies to build and operate the ITC for backing up the country’s lone undersea cable to ensure uninterrupted internet services throughout the country.

According to licence conditions, the terrestrial cables will start offering services within the next six months. In September last year, the government had selected six companies to distribute the licences. Each of the companies deposited Tk. 2 crore as licence fee and Tk 1 crore as bank guarantee.

The licensees are Novocom Ltd, Asis-AHL JV, BD Link Communication Ltd, Mango Teleservices Ltd, Summit Communications Ltd and Fibre@home Ltd.

The companies will be able to connect with all neighbouring countries through terrestrial fibre-optic cables. The six cables will pass through Meherpur, Benapole, Sylhet and Comilla borders.

Talking to The Independent, Maj Gen Jia Ahmed, chairman of the BTRC, said the government is planning to get connected with the second submarine cable, SEA-ME-WE-5, very soon. “Expansion of the internet is the present government’s top priority and we are working on it”, he remarked.

He also said that the government is trying to make internet affordable for all. He said the regulator has given 14 large internet service providers (ISP) the licence to provide fixed wi-max service. “These ISPs are allowed to expand their business under this fixed wi-max service, so that they can lucratively switch to the nationwide telecommunication transmission network (NTTN) instead of using overhead cable,” he added.

The telecom regulator, however, recently amended its licensing guideline for the NTTN and included a new provision, so that each operator, as per the amended guideline, has an obligation to deploy its network in all divisional headquarters within the first year of its licence.

Under the amended guideline, all district headquarters of the designated zones and all upazila headquarters of the designated zones will have to be laid out by the NTTN licensees within three and five years, respectively.

Experts, however, are sceptical about the government’s initiatives to expand the internet infrastructure. Dr Sattyaprshad Majumder, professor of telecommunication engineering in BUET, said that two-thirds of the country’s current bandwidth are being wasted because of the government’s open market approach towards distribution.

“Rather than having a policy to prioritise the potential sectors for bandwidth distribution, the government is now providing bandwidth on a random basis”, he pointed out.

He said that setting up of such an internet infrastructure is not enough to increase the number of subscribers. The government needs to form a policy to provide a level playing field for the licensed ITC operators, he added.

“The government should also reduce the 15 per cent VAT on internet usage”, he observed.


Govt to lower bandwidth price by 20pc: minister

Govt to lower bandwidth price by 20pc: minister
Star Business Report

The government will soon lower the internet bandwidth price by 20 percent, said Telecom Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju yesterday.

The new price will be declared by this month, the telecom minister said at a programme, Grameenphone-Prothom Alo Internet Uthsab, in the capital.

He said people of Bangladesh will be provided with 3G (third generation) mobile technology in March. 3G is a technology that provides high speed internet data transfer facility through a wireless system.

At present, 1 megabits per second (Mbps) internet bandwidth is priced at Tk 10,000.

Robi brings haat-bazaar service

Robi brings haat-bazaar service
Business Report

Robi Axiata Ltd has introduced a one-of-a-kind agriculture based service call Robi Haat-bazaar. The service is intended to help agricultural marketing, which is an essential tool for uninterrupted supply of products to the consumers. Farmers in the rural areas can achieve potential benefit from their produce if they have access to the markets in which they sell their harvest.

‘Robi Haat-Bazaar’ is an integration of two important services; ‘Bazaar Dor’ and ‘Krishibazaar’.

Bangladesh’s mobile phone users surpass 82m in Nov

Bangladesh’s mobile phone users surpass 82m in Nov
Author / Source : Xinhua

DHAKA, Jan 1: Bangladesh’s mobile phone subscribers reached 82.442 million at the end of last November with over 15 million new users in the first 11 months last year, an official said Sunday.

According to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), the country’s six cell phone operators sold 1.634 million new connections last November alone. The number of subscribers of the cell phone companies—Grameenphone, Banglalink, Robi, Airtel, Citycell, Teletalk—at the end of last November stood at 36.113 million, 23.367 million, 15.855 million, 5.801 million, 1.739 million and 1.198 million respectively, said the official who preferred to be unnamed.

Second undersea cable to come in three years

Second undersea cable to come in three years
Abdullah Mamun

The country is going to see the second international submarine cable within three years as the state-owned Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Ltd (BSCCL) has recently signed a deal to join a consortium of more than 16 countries.

The project of the consortium styled SEA-ME-WE 5 (South East Asia-Middle East-West Europe 5) is an international undersea optical fibre cable that provides internet connections and will connect Bangladesh with international information highway.

After taking the finance ministry’s consent, the telecommunications ministry gave its approval to the state-run company to join the consortium, according to an official of the telecom ministry.

The second submarine cable will follow the route of the current SEA-ME-WE 4 cable and will reach Japan via Hong Kong, said Monwar Hossain, managing director of the state company.

The project will be completed by 2014 at a cost of Tk 450 crore, said Hossain, adding that an international bid will be floated in July.

The BSCCL will invest Tk 200 crore and collect the rest from international agencies or financial institutions. However, the government will not guarantee the BSCCL loans as it has a fund crisis, said the ministry official.

Hossain said the state-run company has the capacity to operate the new submarine cable as it has the experience of operating the existing one. “Moreover, the company has its own landing station.”

Currently, Bangladesh is connected with the information highway with its only submarine cable SEA-ME-WE 4.

In 2004, Islamic Development Bank funded the project of SEA-ME-WE 4 cable from France to Singapore.

Meanwhile, the government has approved six licences for setting up international terrestrial cables connecting the country with the world via India.

The cables to go through Meherpur, Benapole, Sylhet and Comilla borders will provide a route alternative to the sub-sea connectivity.

Telecom sector earns Tk 122bn in 3 years

Telecom sector earns Tk 122bn in 3 years

The telecom sector earned Taka 121.90 billion for the national exchequer in the past three years of the incumbent government with officials saying the amount is Taka 73.09 billion more than the earnings during the entire five-year tenure of the past BNP-led regime.

Bangladesh Teleco-mmunication Regula-rity Commission (BTRCI) officials said they collected over Taka 60 billion during 2011 through issuing licences and spectrum allocations to the mobile phone and other telecom operators.

“The earnings from the telecom sector during the 2002-2008 period of the past government were Taka 48.81 billion,” BTRC chairman Major General (retd) Zia Ahmed told BSS.

He said during the current fiscal alone the BTRC collected Taka 31.84 billion from four mobile phone operators as the first installment of 2G (second generation) licence renewal fees and “we expect to get another Taka 40.89 billion in next two installments from the 2G renewal”.

In November last, the four mobile phone operators have paid Taka 31.84 billion, 49 percent of the total amount, as their licences were expired. The total amount is Taka 72.73 billion for the 2G renewal.

“We may get an additional amount of Taka 7.78 billion as VAT from GrameenPhone, Banglalink and Robi as they didn’t pay 15 percent VAT; if we could win a court battle with these mobile phone operators we would get the amount. The issue is now pending before the High Court,” the BTRC chief said.

He said the BTRC also expected to fetch an additional amount of Taka 30.34 billion from GrameenPhone (GP), an amount which the mobile phone operator was found to have dodged during the first ever audit by the regulatory body.

“The issue, too, however, is now pending before the High Court for a decision,” Ahmed said.

The BTRC chairman also expected that they could fetch approximately Taka 80 billion from the 3G (third generation) mobile phone services auction in the coming 2012 as the process of appointing consultants to formulate 3G licence guideline and policy were underway.

Bangladesh witnessed a massive growth of mobile phone users in the past three years with 82.5 million people currently using the cellphones while the figure was 46 million at the beginning of 2009.

The number of internet users also grew by 21 million in the past three years as the number of users currently is 25 million.

“The number is being cumulatively increased as the mobile phone and other operators are expanding their internet services massively,” Ahmed said.

He said the cent percent population of 99 percent of the national territory of the country now came under the mobile phone networks while preparations were underway to launch the country’s first ever satellite into the orbit.

“The financial aspect of the satellite ‘Bangabandhu’ project has been given approval and the consultant appointment process is at the final stage,” Ahmed said. —BSS

BDCOM launches ‘NOMADIX’ to provide Wi-Fi hotspot

BDCOM launches ‘NOMADIX’ to provide Wi-Fi hotspot

DHAKA, Dec 13 (BSS) – BDCOM Online Limited has introduced ‘NOMADIX Access Gateway’ in the country to facilitate Wi-Fi hotspot services to the internet users.

The NOMADIX system is a dedicated network appliance placed at the edge of the network providing universal mobile connectivity, advanced security and policy-based traffic shaping for the subscriber.

“The system does not require any kind of software set up in the computer for internet access,” BDCOM managing director Sumon Ahmed Sabir said today at the product launching ceremony at National Press Club.

The NOMADIX of the United States, a subsidiary of NTT DOCMO, is the most accepted gateway globally that provides Wi-Fi hotspot in different areas such as hotel, shopping mall, airport and rail station, he added.

BDCOM has an agreement with Innovative Data Solution (Pvt.) Ltd. (IDS) of Sri Lanka, the distributor of NOMADIX in the SAARC Region. It will also provide IntraSERV Billing and Management solution system.

Having over 50,000 units over the past ten years, the Nomadix access gateway is the market leader in magnetizing access to the internet at public venues, said IDS chief executive officer Jeremy Fernando.

“The NOMADIX Service Engine (NSE) software has been developed in house resulting in more than 100 patents in 15 unique areas of functionality which are required for public access network,” he said.

Nomadix Gateway has been deployed in a variety of venues by companies such as china Netcom, Best Western, Hilton, Marriot, NTT-ME,, Korea Telecom, Reliance Telecom, Motorola, Intercontinental Hotel Group and Starwood.