4G to spur growth of ICT, e-commerce

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DHAKA, Dec 24, 2017 (BSS) – Leading IT operators and IT businessmen have expressed their firm opinion that Bangladesh would see an expeditious growth with the introduction of the 4G telecommunication service in the fields of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and e-commerce.

They said high speed internet would pave the way for expanding different types of services that would also propel the “digital Bangladesh” campaign within 2021 under the guidance of the present government.

Terming internet as the basic “platform” or “highway”, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) President Mustafa Jabbar told BSS that expansion of highways might ensure speed. “So, the more you expand the highway, the more opportunities will be opened up,” he observed.

Although 3G could not offer expected speed but, he hoped, introduction of 4G in early next year would meet the necessity.

Replying to a query regarding the number of people engaged in information technology (IT) and IT Enabled Services (ITES), Jabbar said BASIS has over 1,000 registered ITES firms but it’s hard to figure out the actual number as many of them work individually.

With a view to introducing 4G service in the country,
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) will
issue license for 4G on February 14 next after holding the
spectrum auction for three different bands on February 13.
BTRC has already approved the 4G/LTE Licensing Guidelines and
announced the auction roadmap for 2100 MHz, 1800 MHz and 900
MHz spectrum bands.

For the 4G/LTE service, the BTRC has kept option for
new operators. The new entrant will be eligible to participate
in the 2100 MHz spectrum auction subject to their success
during primary evaluation of the application.

The winning new entrant in the auction of 2100 MHz band, if any, will be eligible to participate in the auction of 1800 MHz and 900 MHz bands to operate as cellular mobile phone services operators to provide 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE services having respective license.

Meanwhile, BTRC Chairman Dr Shahjahan Mahmood said that two new companies are keen to avail the 4G/LTE license.

Talking to BSS, e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB) President Razib Ahmed said 4G service will directly benefit the people who are working with e-commerce.

“We didn’t invest any, but the government has ensured infrastructure especially internet for us and we are getting the benefit directly, and 4G will bolster our sector,” he added.

Over 715 firms are members of e-CAB at this moment which have delivered 30,000 products in 2017 and transacted Taka 1,800 crore. In addition, there are one thousand e-commerce-based sites and 10,000 facebook pages to run online-based business.

Terming the initiative of introducing 4G/LTE service
as a significant milestone, Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB) Secretary General T I M Nurul Kabir told BSS that significant growth in mobile users, internet penetration, data usage and handset penetration have been contributing to the overall economy of the country.

“Mobile telecom sector is the digital service providers and key enablers of the connected society, since they facilitate all kinds of business, social communication, access to information, entertainment, e-commerce, m-commerce, and many other forms of digital services,” he said.

Kobir also said it has created many sub-subsectors too, such as content providers, local handset manufacturing sectors, value added services, and innovative transport services such as Uber or Pathao.

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