Category Archives: Telecom Sector/Broadband and Internet/WiMAX

Country to have second submarine cable soon: Faruk Khan

Country to have second submarine cable soon: Faruk Khan
Author / Source : BSS

DHAKA, Dec 4: Commerce Minister Lt Col (retd) Faruk Khan today said the government is working for another submarine cable to ensure qualitative, faster and low cost IT services to all. “Work on the second optical fiber line is underway. I will raise the matter before the cabinet so the work is done as quickly as possible,” he said while inaugurating e-krishok service at Spectra Convention Centre in the city.

Bangladesh Institute of ICT In Development (BIID) in cooperation with Catalyst, ACI Ltd and Grameen Phone (GP) launched the service.

E-krishok is an initiative to reach the benefits of ICT to farmers of rural areas. Any farmer having an issue, question or problem related to agriculture or any other income generating activity would be able to get low-cost IT services.

Prime Minister’s Private Secretary and National Project Director of Access to Information (A2I) Programme Nazrul Islam Khan, and deputy ambassador of the Netherlands Embassy in Dhaka Carel Richter addressed the function as special guests.

BIID chief executive officer Shahid Uddin Akbar, Sultanur Reza of GP, executive director of Catalyst Markus Kupper and executive director of ACI Ltd Dr FH Ansarey also shared their ideas on how farmers can benefit using technology-based information.


WiMax operators set to go aggressive

WiMax operators set to go aggressive

Author / Source : MASHIUR RAHAMAN

DHAKA, dec 1: With the promise of high-speed internet connectivity at an affordable cost, the country’s two existing WiMax operators have geared up to secure greater market penetration in the years to come.

Equipped with advanced 4G technology, the WiMax operators are determined to sustain their already achieved success and intensify service operation. “We are focusing to expand our service network at every corner of the country, targeting addition of  more users to our network,” GM Farukh Khan, head of marketing and communication of Banglalion Communications Ltd, told The Independent.

With a different strategy, Qubee, the other operating WiMax service provider, is looking to intensify its service quality, instead of going for ground coverage.

“We are not looking to be everywhere with weak service quality. Instead, we want to be the best at wherever we are,” Sayed Ashiqur Rahman, Qubee’s head of Brand and Communications, explains business strategy of his company. Though in different style, both the companies are promised to rock the broadband service industry by next year.

WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a communication technology for wireless delivery of high-speed internet service to large geographical areas. It is part of a “fourth generation,” or 4G, of wireless communication technology.

Bangladesh Tele-communication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) in 2008 issued WiMax licence to four applicants. Two of them — Qubee and Banglalion — managed to begin operation at the end of 2009. But BRAC BD and state-run BTCL, the two other companies that have received WiMax licence at the time, are unlikely to start operation in near future.

Despite their offer of advanced 4G wireless broadband internet services, subscribers’ rate for WiMax remained even less than 1 per cent of the country’s total 20 million internet users, BTRC source said.

At present, the country’s 94 per cent internet users depend on services offered by the mobile phone operators, WiMax operators have promised to accelerate growth.

Within just over a year and half of the first appearance, Banglalion have already expanded operation to 33 districts, connecting about 200,000 users across the country, GM Farukh Khan said.

“By the end of 2012, each corner of the country is expected to come under our network coverage,” he disclosed his company’s expansion plan.

Offer of high-speed wireless broadband internet service at affordable cost is the prime marketing strategy of Banglalion, he said.

Qubee plans to grow in terms of quality, giving geographical coverage.

Explaining his company’s achievements so far, Sayed Ashiqur Rahman said, “Qubee leads the market in bringing the end price down. It is the first company to offer double speed at no additional cost.”

The pioneering endeavour will continue in the days to come, he added.

Qubee has 25 full-fledged customer care centres in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet where every internet related solutions are available.

“Our future business strategy is to be the best with our innovative and user-friendly services to whatever the number joins our network,” Rahman added.

BSCCL to float share in January

BSCCL to float share in January

DHAKA, Nov 29 (BSS) – Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL) is expecting to float share in January next year.

“The BSCCL would go to the share market in January as it is working to completing formalities within December to launch IPO,” secretary of posts and telecommunications Sunil Kanti Bose said today at an award giving ceremony.

BSCCL, as the first Bangladeshi company, has been awarded ‘AAA’ both in ‘government support’ and ‘stand alone basis’ by the evaluator organization Credit Rating Information Services Limited (CRISL).

Sunil Kanti, also the chairman of the state-owned company, said the BSCCL is making profit every year after being converted into a public limited company in July 1, 2008.

The BSCCL made profit of Taka 11.50 crore in 2008, Taka 34.50 crore in fiscal 2009-10 and Taka 54.50 crore in fiscal 2010-11. It has a total paid up capital of Taka 87.50 crore.

“BSCCL has given 10 percent dividend to the government exchequer in 2008, 30 percent in 2009-10 and 20 percent in 2010- 11 fiscal years,” said its managing director Monwar Hossain.

About conferring ‘AAA’ credit rating on BSCCL, chief executive officer of CRISL Mozaffar Ahmed said that the company has achieved great success both in business and management.

“BSCCL is the first instance in Bangladesh of attaining ‘AAA’ at all the measurement scale in the 16-year working history of CRISL,” he said.

BSCCL is the lone organization, which provides bulk bandwidth for foreign voice and data communication all over the country as well as connects Bangladesh with international super information highway.

The telecom secretary said the government is working to connect with another submarine cable ‘CMU5’ to be joined by big companies of pacific and eastern region.

“BSCCL has attained the ability to expand the network with its own cost,” he said.

1.7m users to get Teletalk 3G services from March

1.7m users to get Teletalk 3G services from March

State-owned cell phone operator Teletalk is expected to provide Third Generation or “3G” mobile services to 1.7 million users by March next year upgrading its technical infrastructures. “Teletalk is working rapidly to launch the 3G services from March 26,” Teletalk managing director Mujibur Rahman told BSS. Only 1.7million users will enjoy the services initially and the number would be increased gradually, he added.

He said Teltalk nearly finalized the preparedness to launch the 3G services installing additional 2160 BTS or Base Transceiver Stations.

Besides, he said, installation work of new 708 BTS was almost complete and they will be put on operation with the existing 1250 BTS. Another 100 BTS were already installed in Dhaka and works were underway to set up more 68 BTS by March in the capital.

At the same time, 500 new Transmission Re-ceiver Equipment have been installed to reduce call congestion, Mujibur said. Teletalk has now 29 Base Station Controllers (BSC) of which seven has been installed newly. They are working as network hub.

The Teletalk initiatives came as the government earlier decided to award the state-run enterprise with the task of providing 3G services. Dhaka, Chitta-gong, Sylhet and others big cities will be brought under the services. The user will have to collect new 3G enabled SIM changing the existing 2G SIM card.

Experts said 3G is the way to provide wireless broadband. This is a mobile dedicated technology and can be obtained through smartphones or modems. After introducing the 3G technology or mobile broadband, the mobile user would enjoy the real time video calling, live mobile tv, high speed download, HD gaming, e-education, public health, tele-medicine and e-shopping.

On the other hand, the Teletalk managing director thought that the user number is being cumulatively increased after the declaration of launching 3G, and hoped that it will be reached 30 lakh before March.

Currently, around 50,000 SIM cards of Teletalk is being sold every month, he added.

Teletalk will also set up four customer centres—two in Dhaka and one each in Narayanganj and Sylhet. —Bss

Cellphones must have Bangla keypad

Cellphones must have Bangla keypad

BSS, Dhaka

The telecoms regulator has decided not to allow the import of mobile phone handsets without Bangla keypad from February next year.

“Importers and vendors will not be allowed to import any mobile phone handset without Bangla keypad after January 31,” Zia Ahmed, chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regularity Commission (BTRC), told BSS.

He said the commission took the decision to supplement a national campaign to promote Bangla and make ICT equipment-friendly to common people.

Sources said at present, some vendors are selling cell phone handsets with Bangla keypad in limited-scale only for their business interest.

The BTRC chief said the commission nearly finalised a guideline to issue an order that would allow only cent percent

Bangladeshi companies and vendors to import cell phone sets to promote local entrepreneurship.

Welcoming the BTRC’s move, Bangladesh mobile phone importers association secretary Foysal Alim said that the regulator should have taken the decision earlier for the interest of local entrepreneurs.

At the same time, the telephone regulator has taken another decision to install EIR (Equipment Identification Register) server to every cell phone operators for detecting the duplication of handset IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number.

Currently, there are a huge number of handsets in the market with fake IMEI number.

Sources said some foreign handset manufacturing and cell phone companies including Grameenphone and Banglalink have marketed cell phone sets directly under its own brand for long time. But, they could not run the job after the implementation of new BTRC guidelines.

At present, around 50 local importers are importing cell phone handsets from different countries.

Industry insiders alleged that the handset manufacturing and cell phone companies have made huge profit through marketing the substandard handsets in the country.

The regulator, however, has kept a provision that the cell phone companies would import high quality multi-media handset by taking prior conditional permission from the BTRC.

Six companies to get ITC licence next week

Six companies to get ITC licence next week

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regularity Commission (BTRC) would issue International Terrestrial Cable (ITC) licence to six companies next week.

“The six companies have already completed necessary process including depositing licence fee. The printing of licence document is going on and it would be handed over to them next week,” BTRC Chairman Maj Gen (retd) Zia Ahmed told BSS.

They have to start operation within six months after getting the licence, he added.

At present, Bangladesh runs its international telecommunication connectivity through the lone submarine cable. But, the connection is snapped time and again due to different problems.

Officials said the licence recipient companies would connect Bangladesh telecommunication with the world through an alternative terrestrial optical fibre of the neighbouring country’s telecom company whenever required.

BTRC Director General (legal and licence) A K M Shahiduzzaman told the news agency that all the necessary works have been completed to hand over the licence next week.

The six companies deposited Tk 20 million (2.0 crore) each as licence fee, he added.

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

Sources said the government floated the licensing guidelines on March 31 this year. Primarily, the commission had decided to hand over three ITC licences. Later, it changed the decision and started the process of awarding six ITC licences instead of three. Nine companies had submitted applications for licence.

A 20-member evaluation committee of BTRC scrutinised the applications and made a list as per the quality of the companies. It also recommended that the licences be handed over as per the list.

After completing the necessary process, the posts and telecommunications ministry finalised the licence procedure on September 13 this year.

Airtel expands network infrastructure

Airtel expands network infrastructure
Business Report

Airtel Bangladesh Ltd on Sunday announced that it has added more than 1,000 new network sites in Bangladesh over the last few months. With this, Airtel Bangladesh has established wide scale availability of its services in 4,350 towns including 398 thanas and 2,158 unions.

Commenting on the network expansion initiatives, Chris Tobit, CEO and Managing Director, Airtel Bangladesh said, “In a short span of time – Airtel has emerged as one of the faster growing mobile services’ providers in Bangladesh. We look forward to extending our reach by March 2012 and creating many more opportunities to delight our customers in Bangladesh”

With strong network infrastructure partnerships in place, Airtel is well poised to further ramp up its network rollout towards creating blanket coverage across Bangladesh.