Telecommunications in Bangladesh
The liberalisation of Bangladesh’s telecommunications sector began with small steps in 1989 with the issuance of a licence to a private operator for the provision of inter alia cellular mobile services to compete with the previous monopoly provider of telecommunications services the Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB). Significant changes in the number of fixed and mobile services deployed in Bangladesh occurred in the late 1990s and the number of services in operation have subsequently grown exponentially in the past five years.
The incentives both from government and public sectors have helped to grow this sector.It is now one of the biggest sector of Bangladesh. As a populous country, it's huge market has attracted many foreign investors to invest in this sector
The telecom sector in Bangladesh is rapidly emerging. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) is the regulatory authority for this sector, overseeing licensing, policy etc.
Landmarks in the history of telecom industry in Bangladesh
- 1853 : Telegraph branch under Posts and Telegraph Department, British India.
- 1971 : Reconstructed as Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Department under Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.
- 1975 : Reconstructed as Telegraph and Telephone Board.
- 1979 : Reconstructed as Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) with right to issue license for telecom and wireless services.
- 1981 : Digital Telex Exchange in Bangladesh.
- 1983 : Automatic Digital ITX started in Dhaka.
- 1985 : Coinbox Telephone service introduced in Bangladesh by BTTB.
- 1989 : GENTEX Telegraph messaging service introduced in Bangladesh.
- 1989 : Bangladesh Rural Telecom Authority got license to operate exchanges in 200 upazilla.
- 1989 : Sheba Telecom got license to operate exchange is 199 upazilla.
- 1989 : Cellular mobile phone company Pacific Bangladesh Telephone Limited and Bangladesh Telecom got license.
- 1995 : Card Telephone service introduced in Bangladesh by BTTB and TSS.
- 1995 : Regulatory power of BTTB transferred to Ministry (MoPT).
- 1995 : 2nd and 3rd ITX installed in Dhaka.
- 1996 : GrameenPhone got cellular mobile Telephone license.
- 1996 : Telecom Malaysia International Bangladesh got cellular mobile license.
- 1998 : Telecom Policy.
- 2000 : Global Telecom Service (GTS) Telex Exchange venture with British Teleco.
- 2001 : Telecommunication Act, to establish Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).
- 2002 : ICT Policy.
- 2004 : Teletalk cellular mobile launched.
- 2005 : Egypt-based Orascom acquired Sheba Telecom
- 2006 : NGN[disambiguation needed] introduced in BTTB.
- 2008 : BTTB converted into Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL) with 100% shares owned by Government. The Submarine Cable Project transformed into Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL)
- 2008 : Japanese NTT DoCoMo bought 30 percent stake in Aktel
- 2009 : Bharti Airtel acquired 70 percent stake in Warid Telecom
- 2009 : Internet Protocol Telephony Service Provider (IPTSP) Operators launched.
- 2012 : 3G mobile service is introduced by state owned Teletalk in October.
As defined in the National Telecommunications Policy 1998 and International Long Distance Telecommunications Services (ILDTS) Policy 2007, all mobile operators is to interconnect through Interconnection Exchange (ICX) and all international calls to be handled by International Gateway (IGW) which is to be connected to the mobile and fixed operators through the ICXs.
The Interconnection Exchange (ICX) will receive all calls from the mobile and fixed operators whenever the call is made to other network and will pass it to the destination network if the call is local, and will pass to the IGWs if the call is international. ICX will also deliver calls received from IGWs where the call is destined.
Below illustrate the structure of interconnection between different interfaces.
The PSTN or fixed operators in Bangladesh are:
- Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (former BTTB)- Now having the largest PSTN subscriber base..
- Peoples Telecommunication and Information Services Ltd. – Currently off air, License cancelled by BTRC
- Ranks Telecom Ltd. – Currently off air, license re-awarded
- Tele Barta Ltd. – branded under the nameJubok phone – Currently off air
- Jalalabad Telecom Ltd. – branded under the name Bijoy Phone
- Onetel Communication Ltd.
- National Telecom Ltd. – Currently off air, License cancelled by BTRC
- Westec Ltd.
- Dhaka Telephone Co. Ltd. – Currently off air, License cancelled by BTRC
- Integrated Services Limited (ISL) – branded under the name Sheba Phone
- S.A Telecom System Ltd.
- Banglaphone Ltd.
The number of PSTN subscribers in Bangladesh as of February 2009 was 1.372 million.
Mobile phone operators
There are 6 mobile phone operators in Bangladesh. These are:
1. Airtel Bangladesh Ltd. Branded as Airtel, formerly known as Warid Telecom
2. Grameenphone/Telenor Bangladesh Ltd.: Branded as Grameenphone
3. Orascom Telecom Ltd.: Branded as Banglalink
4. Pacific Bangladesh Telephone Ltd.: Branded as Citycell
5. Axiata Bangladesh Ltd: Branded as Robi
6. Teletalk Bangladesh Ltd.: Branded as Teletalk
Long distance operators (as per ILDTS Policy 2007)
On February 25, 2008 the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission awarded licenses for two Interconnection Exchanges (ICX), three International Gateways (IGw), and one International Internet Gateway (IIG) to six firms through an open auction in February 2008. The incumbent BTTB got the same licenses too. And after then On April 12, 2012 the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission awarded licenses for twenty one Interconnection Exchanges (ICX), twenty two International Gateways (IGw), and thirty International Internet Gateway (IIG)Here is the list of all operators:
International Gateway (IGW) operators
13.Mos5 Tel Ltd
Interconnection Exchange (ICX) operators
1.Bangla Telecom Limited (BTICX)
2. Bantel Ltd.
6. Imam Network Limited
8. Voicetel Ltd.
10. Tele Exchange ltd.
12. Vertex Communications Ltd.
International Internet Gateway (IIG) operator
12. NovoCom Limited
Internet Protocol Telephony Service Provider (IPTSP) operators
The IPTSP operators in Bangladesh are:
3. Telnet Communication Ltd.
4. ADN Telecom Ltd [Former Advanced Data Network Systems Ltd]
9. Digital Connectivity Limited
10. BTS Communications (BD) Ltd
11. Royal Green Online Limited
12. Global Access Limited
13. Access Telecom (BD) Ltd.
14. Ranks ITT Ltd.
15. BDCOM Online Ltd.
16. Broad Band Telecom Services Limited
17. Information Services Network Limited
18. Off Line
20. Communication One (Pvt.) Limited
21. dhakaCom Limited.
22. X-Net Limited
23. Bangladesh Internet Exchange Limited
24. Nreach Net (Pvt.) Limited
25. Innovative Online Limited
26. Akij Online Limited
27. Bangladesh Export Import Company Limited
28. IDS Bangladesh
29. IS PROS LIMITED
30. Idea Networks And Communications Ltd
31. Pritty International (Pvt) Limited
32. Akceycom Limited
33. BEXIMCO AND SQUARE
34. MaxNet Online
2. Fusion Net
3. M/s. Media & Multimedia
4. Next Online Limited ( Nextfone)
5. J F Optical Services
6. IT Connect Limited
7. Sine-10 (BD) Ltd.
8. SADIATEC Ltd
1. Chittagong Online Limited
2. Chittagong Telecom Services Limited
3. HN TELECOM
On August 18, 2009 the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission awarded licenses for IPTSP. IPTSP operators are regulated by the BTRC.
International Gateway (IGW) billing software solution providers in Bangladesh
Interconnection Exchange (ICX) billing software solution providers in Bangladesh
- Grameenphone IT Ltd.(GPIT)- A CMMI L3 company, child concern of Grameenphone has developed and implemented world class Interconnect Mediation & Billing Solution, Reveneue Assurance & Fraud Management Solution (FARM) for Telco opearators.
- IBCS-PRIMAX Software (Bangladesh) Ltd.: The only CMMI Level 3 certified company in Bangladesh that has developed Interconnection Exchange billing software using BTRC rules.
- Connect 7, Distributor of Malaysian company Connect Seven Solution Sdn Bhd
International Terrestrial Cable (ITC) operator
Radio broadcast stations: AM 12, FM 12, shortwave 2, community radio 1, internet radios
Radios: 6.15 million (1997)
The government owned Betar-Radio Bangladesh operates from Dhaka and other local districts. Currently, the private FM radio channels are very popular. They are trying to attract young people by broadcasting music and news. The operating private radio channels include:
Television broadcast stations: 23 including state run BTV and BTV World (2012)
Televisions: 20, 000,000(2012)
The number of private satellite channels is growing. The first private channel in Bangladesh is ATN Bangla. There are 4 full fledged news channel (Shomoy, ATN news,Independent and Ekattur). The first full fledged music channel of Bangladesh is called GAAN BANGLA which will start its operations by July
The first connectivity of internet was only in 1996. Though It was somewhat late, over the past few years the growth is rapid. The government's high internet tariff is impeding the growth of this sector. Recently the government is decided to reduce the tariff 50%.
Internet country code: .bd
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): As of 2005 more than 180 Internet Service Providers are operating in the country. ISP's are regulated by the Bangladesh telecommunication regulatory commission (BTRC).
Internet users: The number of internet users in Bangladesh as of March 2009 is over 600,000 compared to 100,000 in 2000. However, only 0.3% of the population use the internet and thus making Bangladesh the lowest usage percentage per population of the internet in the world with the exception of North Korea, Myanmar and Sierra Leone.
But on April, 2010 Akhtaruzzaman Manju, president of Internet Service Providers' Association of Bangladesh, told Xinhua that the country's six cell phone operators and Internet Service Providers have so far provided over 800,000 internet connections. "We've estimated that nearly 10 million people in the country are using 800,000 internet connections on sharing basis," he said, adding the number of internet users in the country is increasing yearly by around 15–16 percent.
The number of Internet subscribers in Bangladesh is likely to reach 18.3 million by the year 2020– translating to a 32 percent household Internet penetration at around the same time”, says a study by an international research group.
“This increased internet penetration would resulted in 2.6 per cent contribution to the country’s GDP by 2020 while creating 129 thousand more jobs by the same year” the research added.
Broadband Internet access
Though broadband internet access is available it charges high for high speed connection than other south Asian countries, though this is rapidly changing. Broadband internet and e-commerce in Bangladesh is slowly progressing.WiMAX service is now available from some internet service providers. In Bangladesh Broadband is legally defined as 128/128 kbit/s, which is not in line with ITU. Therefore most of the Broadband internet services and also subscribers are using bandwidth that may not be considered a broadband in other countries and may not be broadband in international standards .
There are 6 satellite earth stations. Talimabad, Betbunia are two of them.Some info shows that the number is now 7. Bangladesh will send her first ever satellite Bangabandhu-1 into space in 2015.
Bangladesh is connected to SEA-ME-WE 4 or South-East Asia – Middle East – Western Europe 4. The landing site of the Bangladesh branch is located at Cox's Bazaar. Bangladesh is also a member of the proposed SEA-ME-WE-5, which will provide another submarine cable connectivity for the country when its submarine cable is implemented within a couple of years. The company, BSCCL is the only submarine cable operator in Bangladesh.
- Doel (laptop)
- Media of Bangladesh
- Telecom System in Bangladesh
- List of Bangladeshi TV and radio Channels
- Chronological Development of Telecommunication
- "Bangladesh Enters 3G Era, Putting Telecom Growth on Fast Track". Fox Business. October 14, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
- "Teletalk Launches Bangladesh's First 3G Network". Cellular News. October 15, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
- National Telecommunications Policy 1998
- Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission
- Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission
- "Bangladesh nearing 100 mln mobile subs". Telecompaper. 2013-05-02. Retrieved 2013-05-17.
- Internet Protocol Telephony Service Provider (IPTSP)
- Hafez Ahmed @ http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com (2008-10-26). "GETCO to use Oracle's BRM software". Thefinancialexpress-bd.com. Retrieved 2013-05-17.
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- ISPs association Bangladesh
- #BD moble Internet Usage Stats
- "Internet users (per 100 people) | Data | Table". Data.worldbank.org. Retrieved 2013-05-17.
- spumail (2011-04-04). "Birth of Broadband - Frequently Asked Questions". Itu.int. Retrieved 2013-05-17.
- Media and Telecommunications Lansdcape Guide in Bangladesh, a 'infoasaid' guide, May 2012, 135 pp.
- All Bangla Newspaper link / All Daily Newspaper in Bangladesh link