Dhaka, Friday, March 23, 2018


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People to enjoy 4G, MNP, satellite in 2018

By Mazharul Anwar Khan

DHAKA, Jan 01, 2018 (BSS) - Bangladesh is going to witness some milestone developments in 2018, which will be a big boost for the country's telecommunication, information technology and related industries.

In the New Year, Bangladesh will launch country's first communication satellite "Bangabandhu-I" to the orbit while the telecom regulator started the process of introducing 4G/LTE service and appointed mobile number portability (MNP) operator to offer the services.

"All the developments activities will be visible in 2018 when people can get the benefit of those", state minister for posts and telecommunications Tarana Halim told BSS.

Highlighting the holistic approaches of development taken by the Awami League-led government, she said the government is determined to bring ultimate benefit of modern connectivity.

Country's first communication satellite Bangabandhu-I is waiting for launching to the orbit following the completion of successful manufacture. With the launching, Bangladesh will join the satellite owning club as the 57th nation.

The country signed agreement with Thales Alenia Space, France on November 11, 2015 to manufacture and launch the satellite.

The satellite having 40 transponders will be able to serve SAARC countries, Indonesia, and the Philippines, as well as countries such as Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. One transponder is equivalent to 36 MHz.

The country spends around US$ 14 million annually on satellite rents for running television channels, telephones and radio connectivity. After the launch of the satellite, the country will be able to save around Taka 110 to Taka 120 crore annually in foreign currency.

With a view to introducing 4G service in the country, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) will issue 4G license on February 14 following a spectrum auction for three different bands on February 13.

BTRC Chairman Dr Shahjahan Mahmood said two new companies are keen to avail the 4G/LTE license. But he was reluctant to reveal the name of the firms.

In the New Year, another feather is going to be added to wing of the telecommunication sector through the introducing the much-awaited mobile number portability (MNP) service.

On November 30 in last year, the BTRC handed over the MNP license to the joint venture firm Infozillion BD Teletech Consortium Limited for offering the service in the country.

Getting the license, Managing Director of Infozillion BD Teletech Consortium Limited (IBTCL) Mabroor Hossain said "We will be ready to offer the service within March as per the licensing condition."

The company must provide the service within 180 days of getting the license. Once the service is introduced, the mobile phone user can port to another operator retaining his/her number unchanged at Taka 30 and the process would take highest 72 hours. If any user again wants to change operator, he/she has to wait 90 days.

Local companies have also moved forward to set up assembling plants for mobile phone handset with a view to utilizing the potential of domestic market.

Following the way of Walton, another two local brands "WE" and "Symphony" are working for mobile handset assembling plants while South Korean giant Samsang has also showed interest to manufacture handset locally.

The three local companies will manufacture over 10 lakh unit handsets monthly. According to BTRC, annually nearly 3 crore handsets are sold in the country which is fully imported.

On the other hand, Prime Minister's ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy recently opened "Daak Taka", a digital wallet of Bangladesh Post Office (BPO), with a view to tapping the unbanked people of grass roots level with banking channel through the electronic system. The BPO has set a goal to connect over 3 crore unbanked people with the banking system this year by the digitized 'Daak Taka' which only requires Taka 2 to open an account.

Using the digital wallet "Daak Taka", anyone can made transaction for purchase through card, app and other channels. Keeping in mind of more financial services, near field communication (NFC) and QR (quick response) code is also made available for it. Daak Taka user can do transaction with other financial entities.

Moreover, Bangladesh is going to be part of another satellite dubbed "South Asian Satellite" initiated by India.

In March 23, 2017 Bangladesh and India signed a deal of 48 degree east orbit frequency coordination for the South Asian Satellite which is meant for meeting of communication and meteorology necessities of South Asian countries.

Alongside India and Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Maldives and Nepal responded positively for the satellite.

The satellite will design, build, launch and maintain for the benefit of South Asian countries in various fields including telecommunication and metrological aspects by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The South Asian Satellite's lifetime will be 12 years, with the ability to cover the SAARC region only with its 12 transponders, according to officials. One transponder is equivalent to 36 megahertz.

In addition, to boost connectivity, BTCL is implementing a development project for "triple-play network" for providing video and data facilities alongside the voice transmission through a single network.

Under the project, three internet protocol multimedia sub-system platforms with the capacity of 16 lakh connections would be installed while copper cables would be replaced by 2,367 km fiber optic cable and 793 km new copper cable would also be installed from transmission.

Besides, eight backbone equipment each having capacity of 100 gbps, six core routers for IP network, 114 other routers, 143 access switches and 139 other switches would be collected in the project.

Moreover, a central monitoring system would also be installed for 24-hour telephone connection, network operation and maintenance.