Telecom operation in Bangladesh by gjmpzlaezgx


									                             TABLE OF CONTENT

            1.1.       Organizing the study
            1.2.       Objective of the study
            1.3.       Methodology of the study
            1.4.       Limitation of the study
CHAPTER 2   About Dhaka Stock Exchange
                   2.1.      Introduction to Dhaka stock exchange:

                   2.2.      Legal control
                   2.3.      Function of Dhaka stock exchange
                   2.4.      Holidays and trading session
                   2.5.      Board of directors
                   2.6.      Post presidents/Chairman of DSE
                   2.7.      DSE executives
                   2.8.      Management of DSE
                   2.9.      Members Directory
                   2.10.     Memorandum of association
CHAPTER 3   Market statistics
                   2.11.     Top 10 gainers
                   2.12.     Top 10 losers
                   2.13.     Comparison of market
                   2.14.     Corporate governance guidelines
                   2.15.     Listed companies
CHAPTER 4   Economy of Bangladesh
                      4.4.1. Growth, Savings and Investment
                      4.4.2. Inflation
                      4.4.3. Fiscal Sector
                      4.4.4. External Sector
                      4.4.5. Money and Credit Development
                      4.4.6. Public Debt Management
                      4.4.7. Capital Market
                      4.4.8. Industry
                   5. Procedure for making portfolio investment by
                      foreign investors
                   6. Opportunities for foreign investor
                   7. Facilities for none resident Bangladeshi
CHAPTER 5   Securities market in 2008
                   5.1 AGMs held in December 2008
                   5.2 Dividend declared in 2008 for different
                       companies (Current Year, last year)
                   5.3 Number of issued shares
                   5.4 Face value per share
               5.5 Net sales
               5.6 Net profit/Loss after TAX
               5.7 Company matrix
               5.8 Price details of different companies
               5.9 IPO’s in 2008
               5.10        Company failing to hold AGM
               5.11        Company failed to pay listing fees
               5.12        Top brokerage houses
               5.13        Share categorization change status.
               5.14        Top performing companies of DSE by
                   different criteria.
               5.15        Percentage of dividend declared by the
                   listed companies during last five years
Chapter 6   Bangladesh securities market, where it is? Where it
            should have been?
            6.1. Mutual fund operations and management
            6.2. Factors driving the stock market
            6.3. Companies under A, B, N and Z
            6.4. Company listed by:
            6.4.2. Engineering
            6.4.3. Food
            6.4.4.Fuel and power
            6.4.7. Pharmaceuticals
            6.4.8. Chemicals
            6.4.9. Paper and printing
            6.4.10. Services and real estate
            6.4.11. Cement
            6.4.13. IT sector
            6.4.14. Tannery Industries
            6.4.15. Ceramics Sectors
            6.4. I6. Insurance
            6.4.17. Miscellaneous

                           List of Illustration

Table1     Network frequency of different operators         12
Table2     GrameenPhone at a glance                         17
Table3     Customer Growth of GrameenPhone                  17
Table4     Yearly Customer Growth of Aktel                  22
Table5     Aktel at a Glance                                23
Table6     Citycell at a Glance                             27
Table7     Yearly Customer Growth of Citycell               27
Table8     Banglalink at a Glance                           32
Table9     Customer Growth of Teletalk                      34
Table10    Comparative view of existing mobile operator     36
Table11    Customer Growth of different mobile operators    36
Table12    Market Share of different operators              37
Table13    Strategies and slogans of mobile operators       38

Figure1    Country wide waiting customer                     7
Figure2    Ownership of GrameenPhone                        14
Figure3    Yearly Growth of GrameenPhone                    18
Figure4    Ownership of Aktel                               21
Figure5    Yearly customer Growth of Aktel                  22
Figure6    Ownership of Citycell                            26
Figure7    Yearly Customer Growth of Citycell               28
Figure8    Customer Growth of different mobile operators    36
Figure9    Market Share of Mobile companies in Bangladesh   37
Figure10   Porter‟s five forces model                       38

Map1       Coverage of GrameenPhone                         15
Map2       Coverage map of Citycell                         28
Map3       Coverage map of Banglalink                       31


We have prepared the report on „Telecom operation in Bangladesh: A study on
leading telecommunication service providers‟. To prepare this we studied all the
Mobile operators in Bangladesh.

The report demonstrates a comparative analysis of mobile communication industry
of Bangladesh. We have collected primary and secondary data by interviewing
employees directly and from web sites and books. Employees gave us information
from their experiences.

A comprehensive study on the market share, business strategy and future plan of
the mobile operators are shown in the report. The report covers all the sides of their
activities. This report also covers some recommendation and conclusion based on
our study.

The report also explicitly describes the customer growth in the domestic market. It
also emphasis on customer demand and supply of the services of the mobile

                                  CHAPTER 1


The report was initiated as a coursework award to the group by Mr. S. I. Nusrat A.
Chaudhury. It‟s an opportunity for us to work very closely with Mr. Nusrat.


The objective of the report is to analyze the market share, service comparison,
business strategy and future development of Telecom operation in Bangladesh. We
have considered the mobile operators in this report.


This report focuses on the market share, business strategy and trend of the mobile
operators in Bangladesh. There are five mobile operators currently active in
Bangladesh market. Those are: Grameenphone, Aktel, Citycell, Banglalink and
Teletalk. We will focus only on these companies.


To prepare the report we have interviewed officials from different operators. We have
taken necessary information from the websites of the mobile operators and BTTB.


GSM stands for Global System for Mobile telecommunications. More than 1.6 billion
people use GSM phones as of 2005, making GSM the dominant mobile phone Most
GSM networks operate in the 900 MHz or 1800 MHz bands

Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), another leading technology in mobile

Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board, state owned telephone service


Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission. It monitors and controls the telecom
operators in Bangladesh.


This report is prepared only on the key players in the mobile telecommunication
market. As a result it does not cover other companies in the telecommunication
market. Utmost care and sincerity was ensured in preparing the report. But several
barriers hindered in preparing a comprehensive report.

      First and foremost is time. Lack of time gave team mates huge trouble. A
      mammoth task like this report had to be prepared within a very short time.

      Another barrier was lack of coordination. Coordinating all the team mates was
      a tough job. Besides, one our team mates left us as she has withdrawn
      herself from the course.

      Gathering information was also a very challenging job. Mobile companies
      does not encourage disclosing information and as a result we had tough time
      gathering all information. However, we collected all information that was
      available in the market.

      All the group members have their own professional life. It created another
      hindrance for the completion of the report.

      We went to meet several professionals of different telcos. It tolled a lot of time
      from us as they were busy with their professional activities and kept us waiting
      for them.

      Weather was another barrier for the quick completion of the report. Our team
      mates faced difficulties in meeting time to time.

                                  CHAPTER 2

The definition of telecommunication is changing day by day. Before,
telecommunications meant telephone systems. But those days are over. Other
things have crept into modern telecommunication. Now, we have to deal with a wide
spectrum of communications equipment and technology. In the broadest sense,
telecommunication means any system that handles voice, data, video or any
handling of information in motion, whenever it is found, in whatever form.
Telecommunication is the main backbone of any country. No country can sustain
Development without a strong telecom infrastructure. One of the first priorities of any
government is to be able to communicate smoothly around the country.
Communication is not just building roads and bridges and railway but most
importantly to set up a strong telecom infrastructure around the country. Despite the
slow development of telecom services in the past, improved commitment,
guaranteed funding and beginning of a long term planning by the government shows
that the ongoing telecommunications projects will be successful and the overall
telephone infrastructure of Bangladesh will grow stronger.


The erstwhile East Pakistan Telegraph and Telephone Board was renamed as
Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) in 1971, after the
independence of The People‟s Republic of Bangladesh to run the telecommunication
services commercially. Subsequently, it was converted into a corporation in 1976 to
boost up its service to the people and in 1979 The Bangladesh Telegraph and
Telephone Board (BTTB) was formally constructed. BTTB is still the biggest
telephone operator of Bangladesh and it operates basic telephone services-
overseas communication and national transmission network.

Because of the recent development policy adopted by the government, BTTB is no
more the sole provider of telecommunication services but it still does have a
monopoly on fixed lines. Presently, BTTB has over 7 lakh fixed connections but
mainly based in the major cities and towns. Bangladesh has a low tele-density of
0.79 phones per 100 people- lowest in this region (BTTB to reduce, 2004). This is
due to the fact that telephone services are still limited in the villages. Bangladesh‟s
Rural Telecom Authority (BRTA) only had a capacity of 24,000

The growth of the telephone exchange capacity of Bangladesh from 1995 to 2000
was discouraging- an average growth rate of only 40, 000 lines per annum whereas,
pending and growing demand of telephones has been increasing at a faster rate
than growth in the installed capacity of telephone exchange system. Figure 1 shows
the telephone growth and demand from the 1994-95 fiscal years to 2000-2001.
Because of the indifferent attitude and corruption of the BTTB, people with low

income do not even think of expressing their demands due to high connection cost
fee and because they cannot afford to pay the bribes that are required for getting
their telephone connected. In Figure 1, we observe that the analog exchanges seem
to be decreasing every year by replacement with digital exchanges. Nevertheless,
the table shows that the rate of increase in digital exchanges is much lower than the
growth of the pending and increasing demand.

In the 70s, Bangladesh‟s inter-district communication was dependent only on copper
wires. These copper wires had limited capacity, were expensive and were a tempting
target for rural thieves. Therefore, only the privileged or wealthy people could afford
it -and even they often suffered the loss of it due to theft. With the introduction of
wireless system in the early 70s, there was a massive change and sudden burst of
telephone facilities in Bangladesh. In a true sense, with the implementation of
wireless communication, general people are getting greater access to telephone
facilities although it is yet not very significant level as mentioned earlier (A. Chakma,
personal communication, January 23, 2004).

BTTB had a total capacity of 4, 74, 322 lines with 631 telephone exchanges by the
end of the 1998-99 fiscal year. Until 1990 BTTB only provided analog lines but in
1991 it enhanced its system and added digital lines to its system and had a capacity
of 26, 000 lines. Today, telephones in Dhaka, and most areas in Chittagong, have
been digitalized. There are still areas where BTTB is unable to reach and hope to
reach with future development projects. BTTB is still based in cities, towns and very
few villages. Figure 2 below shows the percentage of waiting customers in four of the
important divisions of the country as of
June 2001.

                     Figure 1: country wide waiting customer.



The Strategic Vision of the Government is to facilitate Universal Telephone Service
throughout the country and where there is a demand, all those value added services
such as cellular mobile telephone paging, data services, access to Internet (including
electronic mail), Voice mail and video conferencing – all at an affordable cost without
compromising performance.

To achieve the Vision, Government‟s role as a service provider will diminish as the
private sector‟s role increases. The Government‟s objective will be to create a new
policy environment to support this new scenario. Its ability to create policy, regulate
and facilitate will be strengthened through a new Telecommunications Act which
reflects the Government‟s new policies, objectives and strategies and the
establishment of new institutions including a Telecommunication Regulatory
Commission (TRC) which will become the guardian of the Act and fulfill its regulatory

   1. as recommended by ITU it means any process that enables a correspondent
      to pass to one or more given correspondents ( telegraphy or telephony) .or
      possible correspondents ( broadcasting), information of any nature delivered
      in any usable form (written or printed matter, fixed or moving pictures, words,
      music , visible or audible signals , signals controlling the functioning of
      mechanism etc) by means of any electromagnetic system ( electrical
      transmission by wire, radio transmission, optical transmission etc. or a
      combination of such systems)

   2. Refers to system of pricing in which the actual cost of providing service
      establishes the basic charge to which a fixed mark –up is added to collect a
      standard charge to all users without discrimination.

   3. Refers to pending registered applications waiting for a long time to get
      connections due to paucity of capacity either in the switching, or in the
      external line plant. It also includes the probable applications which will be
      forthcoming if it becomes possible to give connections not long after it is
      applied for. The Government understands that this Universal Service –
      affordable and reliable – will be achievable only trough reforming the sector to
      encourage a plurality of private and public operators conducting their business
      within a competitive environment. Within this environment interconnection and
      revenue sharing will be clear and fair to all service providers and their


The policy document, upholding the commitment of Government to resolve the
prevailing shortcomings, outlines the objectives, strategies and other related aspects
of telecommunications. The policy is formulated to ensure the orderly and rapid
growth of telecommunications services, both in quality and quantity and the use of

telecommunications technology in order to support the socio-economic development,
in line with the national aspirations. The objectives of the National
Telecommunications policy, inter alia, include.

   1. Exchange of Information: The freedom for exchange of information is
      recognized as an important element of human rights and efforts are to be
      made to provide people with greater access to all information except the ones
      that are considered harmful to the society, prejudicial to national interest and

   2. Promotion of National Integration: Telecommunications are to promote
      national integration and to safeguard the social and cultural fabric of the
      nation by directing the expected influence of the technology towards the
      greater benefit of the society.

   3. Universal Access: Access to and delivery of a full range of modern,
      sophisticated, efficient and cost effective services of both basic1 as well as
      value added2 telecommunications are to be provided to as many people as is
      economically and socially justifiable to ensure universal access.

   4. Digitalization: Replace of all analogue switching equipment by the year 2002
      and analogue transmission equipment by 2005. This will improve existing and
      potential telecommunications service for both basic and value added services.
      In addition to improving the quality and reliability of the telecommunications
      infrastructure, full digitalization will facilitate a quicker and easier interface
      mechanism for all private and public operators.

   5. Refers to local exchange residence and business telephone service and
      telegraph service without additional features and any other services defined
      as such in future.

   6. refers generally to the services such as (i) Electronic Mail, (ii) Voice Mail ,(iii)
      Data Services ,(iv) Audio Text Services, (v) Video Text Services, (vi) Video
      Conferencing, (vii) Radio Paging, (viii) Cellular Mobile Telephones, (ix)
      Facsimile, (x) Global System for Mobile GSM, (xi) Global Mobile Personal
      Communication by satellite (GMPCS) and any other future services to come.

   7. Refers to the availability of reliable and affordable telecommunications
      services in both urban and rural areas of the country.

   8. Competitive Framework: Creation of an environment of competition in the
      field of telecommunications enhancing rapid development in volume,
      efficiency and accessibility, shall be ensured to make telecom services
      available within the affordable limit of the general users.

   9. Market Oriented Regime: Telecommunications Services are to be efficiently
      and cost- effectively provided in particular fields, to be decided by the
      Government from time to time, by establishing market oriented regime,
      appropriate sets of regulations, standards, procedures, conditions and
      investment climate & competition.

10. Users‟ Choice: Development of telecommunications facilities and services
   shall be user friendly. The users shall have multiple choices for access to
   networks & markets of different services, systems and carriers at a
   competitive and reasonable price.

11. Private Sector Development: The Government has opened the
   telecommunications market to the private sector. The Government
   acknowledges the private sector‟s increasing resolve and ability to meet the
   growth demands of the country, as well as the fact that the private sector will
   become a much stronger force in telecommunications development in the
   coming years. The Government will provide all assistance to make the private
   sector more vibrant and robust in keeping with their anticipated role in the
   coming years.

12. Resource Mobilization: Resources to the sector are to be maximized through
   participation of both public and private entrepreneurs in operating the services
   in areas where it is economically and socially justified. Efforts shall be geared
   up and coordinated to create an investment climate to help optimization of
   resources from both national and international sources.

13. Local: Local resources may be mobilized through ADP allocation, domestic
   private investment, issue of Telecommunication Bonds, allocating a part of the
   revenue earnings, Bank Loans etc.

14. Foreign: Investment from sources outside the country may be arranged
    through Suppliers Credit, joint Ventures, BLT/BOT/BOO/ BTO agreement etc.,
    in addition to the usual loans and grants from international organizations as
    well as through bilateral agreements with other countries in conformity with
    the industrial policy of the Government.

15. Liberalized Tariff Policy : Tariff polices are to be liberalized ,with regard to the
   area or the service ,from time to time ,in certain market segments and efforts
   are to be continued to encourage extension of maximum service at minimum
   cost with particular emphasis in supporting the industrialization efforts of the
   country .

16. Access to New Technology: Research and development activities to facilitate
   the absorption of new technology and to upgrade the facilities and services in
   telecommunications are to be encouraged and the regional cooperation in
   telecommunication sector is to be enhanced through common development
   and operational strategies and network standards. Continuous updating of
   information on new and latest technology and transfer of the same for the
   benefit of the users, shall be encouraged.

17. Private Sector Investment: The Government will achieve a more vigorous
   development through intensified private sector participation, encouraged by
   the enabling environment created by the Government; a more proactive
   telecommunications industry responsive to users‟ needs and creation of an

   environment with healthier competition & more significant multi-operator
   participation, all of which accelerate the reality of universal service.

18. Foreign Investment: Foreign investors are encouraged to demonstrate their
   commitment to Bangladesh by forming joint ventures with local companies
   and within the telecommunications sector .Government will consider equity
   participation of up to 100% of the overall shareholdings of the
   telecommunications operating company .

19. Implementation Strategy: Government will the participation of the public and
    private sectors, intends to meet its goals and objectives through a
    combination of policy – related technical and financial strategies. It will ensure
    that the present inadequate infrastructure is alleviated through the formulation
    of competition and performance standards. While supporting the private
    sector as the engine of growth it will continue to support BTTB in the short to
    medium term as the Government assumes its just role as policy maker,
    regulator and facilitator. The Government objective is to see an orderly
    transition from a monopolistic to a multi- operator environment

20. Human Resource Development: Human resource development being in
    tandem with the need of the telecommunications sector, standards and
    qualifications for different categories of personnel of all operators are to be set
    based on their services.

21. Defense and Security: Defense and security interests of the country are to be

22. Information Technology: The role of the technologies of telecommunications
   and computers which are becoming increasingly interdependent of and
   complementary to each other, leading to the age of information technology is
   to be acknowledged and encouraged for the benefit of the nation.

23. Local Manufacturing: Promotion of local manufacture of viable
   telecommunications equipment will be encouraged to meet the local and
   regional demand and a vision to compete in international markets in near
   future is to be inculcated.

24. Regulatory Framework: Assignment, monitoring and management of radio
   frequency spectrum1 is to be conducted in an effective, fair rational and
   equitable manner. Telecommunication network standards & their
   management should be compatible with international standards.

25. Protection of users‟ Interest and Service Standards: Protection of the users‟
   interests shall be ensured regarding the services provided, facilities offered,
   technology used and prices charged.


City Cell was the first mobile service provider of Bangladesh. Initially it had a
monopoly on the mobile service but only until 1996. In 1996 two new operators
entered the market- Grameen Phone and Sheba (later on acquired by Orascom and
renamed as Banglalink). Sheba‟s service was limited to Dhaka but Grameen Phone
(GP) spread its network rapidly. Today out of the 64 districts, GP serves 61 districts
in Bangladesh and its network is divided into 6 zones- Dhaka, Chitagong, Khulna,
Sylhet, Barishal, and Rajshahi

Although BTTB has not been able to reach the villages, Grameen‟s cell phones have
reached a massive number of villages. GP, funded by the Grameen Bank and
Telenor has used the optical fiber network owned by Bangladesh Railway. The fiber
optic cables were originally laid by the Bangladesh Railway. Therefore, Grameen
Phone‟s network has been easily connected to any mobile users who are adjacent to
Bangladesh railway tracks. The GP‟s village program was started in 1997 and is
providing service to people in the remote rural areas of BD. According to statistics of
October 2005, there are more than 120,000 village phones in operation. These
village phones are operating in 61 districts and in approximately 28,000 villages-
providing telecom facilities to more than 50 million people in remote areas.

Network frequency allocated do different operators are listed below:

           Network                 System               Frequency (MHz)
           Citycell                CDMA                       800
        Grameenphone                GSM                       900
            Aktel                   GSM                       900
          Banglalink                GSM                       900
           Teletalk                 GSM                       900
               Table 1: Network frequency of different operators.


Here we have discussed the different mobile telecommunication according to their




November 28, 1996: GrameenPhone was offered a cellular license in Bangladesh by
GrameenPhone launched its service on the Independence Day of Bangladesh in
GrameenPhone is the first GSM operator in Bangladesh. After eight years of
operation, GrameenPhone has more than 6 million subscribers as of March 2006.

Establishment (Date)

GrameenPhone was established on March 26, 1997


Telenor AS 62% shares of GrameenPhone Ltd. Grameen Telecom, which owns 38%
of the shares of GrameenPhone

                Grameen Telecom,

                                                                  Telenor AS, 62%

                                   Telenor AS   Grameen Telecom

                         Figure 3: ownership of GrameenPhone

1. Telenor Mobile Communications AS

Telenor AS is the leading Telecommunications Company of Norway listed in the
Oslo and NASDAQ Stock Exchanges. It owns 62% shares of GrameenPhone Ltd.
Telenor has played a pioneering role in development of cellular communications. It
has substantial international operations in mobile telephony, satellite operations and
pay Television services. In addition to Norway and Bangladesh, Telenor owns GSM
companies in Denmark, Austria, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Montenegro, Thailand
and Malaysia. It has recently started a mobile phone operation in Pakistan.

2. Grameen Telecom

Grameen Telecom, which owns 38% of the shares of GrameenPhone, is a not-for-
profit company and works in close collaboration with Grameen Bank. The
internationally reputed bank for the poor has the most extensive rural banking
network and expertise in microfinance. Grameen Telecom‟s objectives are to provide
easy access to GSM cellular services in rural Bangladesh, creating new
opportunities for income generation through self- employment by providing villagers
with access to modern information and communication based technologies.

Shareholders of GrameenPhone

The shareholders of GrameenPhone contribute their unique, in-depth experience in
both telecommunications and development.

The international shareholder brings technological and business management
expertise while the local shareholder provides a presence throughout Bangladesh
and a deep understanding of its economy. Both are dedicated to Bangladesh and its
struggle for economic progress and have a deep commitment to GrameenPhone and
its mission to provide affordable telephony to the entire population of Bangladesh.

Coverage map:

                       Map 1: Coverage of GrameenPhone.

Network Coverage

In Bangladesh:             61 Districts 440 Thanas
Outside Bangladesh:        roaming in more than 205 countries

Equipment Suppliers

Major equipment supplier of GrameenPhone is:
   1. Ericsson (Sweden)

Successful Packages

GrameenPhone has several successful packages. Few of them are as follows:

   1. Easy Prepaid
   2. Easy Gold
   3. Djuice

Social Activities

GrameenPhone actively participates in social activities. They are the sponsor of
Bangladesh Cricket Team. They are also keen to other social responsibilities.


Strong network coverage can take Grameenphone to a limit that is unreachable to


GrameenPhone have few weaknesses. Those are:

    Network congestion: network congestion is very high on the special days like
     New Year, Eid and Bengali New Year etc.
    High call charge: high call charge is another major barrier for the low income
     group people. This should also be considered as a weakness of
     GrameenPhone that they could not make their service more affordable.
    For prepaid cards of low denomination, they validity of the card is a problem
     for the customers. It has a validity of only 3 days.

GrameenPhone At a Glance:

     Events                     Particulars
1    Obtaining License          November 28,1996
2    Commercial Launching       March 26,1997
     Products                   Post-Paid and Pre-Paid

                                GP Regular: Both way BTTB Connectivity + ISD
     Post-Paid                  connection
3                               GP National: With BTTB Incoming Connectivity
                                GP- anytime 300, GP- anytime 450
                                Easy Pre-Paid
     Pre-Paid                   Easy Gold
     Sales & Information
4                               GP has sales and information centers in 6 districts.
                                So far, GrameenPhone has covered 61 districts
5    Network Coverage
                                along with all divisional H/Qs.
6                               GP uses GSM (Global System for Mobile)
                       Table 2: GrameenPhone at a glance.

Customer Growth:

    Year         Customer Base     Growth Rate     Remarks
    1997         18,000            100%
    1998         30,000            67%
    1999         60,000            100%
    2000         193,000           222%
    2001         470,000           144%            Average Growth Rate:
    2002         750,000           60%             123 %
    2003         1,050,000         40 %
    2004         2,699,000         252%
    2005         5,566,000         210%
                    Table 3: customer growth of GrameenPhone







                 1      2      3      4        5     6     7      8      9

                            Year     Customer Base       Growth Rate

                Figure 3: Yearly customer growth of GrameenPhone

International Roaming

GrameenPhone became the first mobile phone operator in Bangladesh to offer its
subscribers International Roaming facilities in March 1999. GP subscribers who have
the International Roaming facility can use their mobile phones in foreign countries
where GrameenPhone has partner networks. Subscribers of partner networks will
also be able to use their mobile phones while visiting Bangladesh.

Advertisement & Promotion

GP has managed to develop and design the A&P materials from in-house since GP
has its own DTP (Desktop Publishing) unit. However, at the early stage of service,
GP appointed Roop Adverting Agency as GPs adverting agency.


GP has a very affluent Branding team and already established an accountable image
in Bangladesh market as GrameenPhone


AKTEL is the dynamic and leading end-to-end countrywide GSM mobile
communication solutions of TM International (Bangladesh) Limited. It is a joint
venture company between Telekom Malaysia Berhad and A.K. Khan & Co. Limited
which was established in the year 1996 and services launched in 1997 under the
brand name AKTEL.
AKTEL is proud to be associated as part of the Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM),
which is strong financially, and internationally renowned for its successful ventures
like Dialog Telekom Limited, the market leader the telecommunication industry in Sri
Lanka. The TM Group has a global presence in 12 countries with staff strength of
30,000 Groupwide.


Since the commencement of its operation, AKTEL has been a force to be reckoned
with in the telecommunication industry of Bangladesh, being one of the fastest
growing mobile communication companies offering comprehensive GSM mobile
solutions to more than two million subscribers. Today, AKTEL boast the widest
International Roaming service in the market connecting 315 operators across 170
countries. In addition, AKTEL is the first mobile operator to connect Tetulia and
Teknaf, the northern and southern most points of Bangladesh. AKTEL was also the
first to provide seamless coverage along the Dhaka-Chittagong highway. With a
network covering all 61 (allowable) districts of Bangladesh, coupled with the first
Intelligent Network (IN) Prepaid Platform in the country, AKTEL is geared to provide
a wide range of products and services to customers all over Bangladesh. At the
heart of all of AKTEL‟s success today, is a young dynamic workforce comprising of
over 1000 highly motivated and skilled professionals.

It is a joint venture company between Telekom Malaysia Berhad and A.K. Khan &
Co. Limited which was established in the year 1996 and services launched in 1997
under the brand name AKTEL.

Establishment (Date):

Aktel was established on November 1, 1997


Telekom Malaysia Berhad group owns 70% of Aktel while A.K. Khan & Co. owns
30% of the company.



                          Telekom Malaysia Berhad   A.K. Khan & Co.

                              Figure 4: Ownership of Aktel

Successful Packages
Aktel has some successful packages. Few of them are stated below:
          1. Ashol phone
          2. Joy
          3. Exceed etc.

To be the most preferred cellular operator in Bangladesh

Network Coverage

In Bangladesh:               61 districts, 425 thanas
Outside Bangladesh:          International Roaming in 315 countries

Social Activities

Participated in social activities like roadside beautification and donating to the
Associations like UCEP (Under Privileged Children Education Program).


Aktel has a very positive image in the market. It is the very first mobile operator that
offered 1 second pulse. Aktel should take advantage of the good operator image.

Equipment Suppliers:
Major equipment suppliers are:
   2. Ericsson (Sweden)
   3. Alcatel (France)
   4. Huawei (China)


Aktel has few weaknesses. Those are:

    Network congestion: network congestion is very high on the special days like
     New Year, Eid and Bengali New Year etc.
    High call charge: high call charge is another major barrier for the low income
     group people. This should also be considered as a weakness of
     GrameenPhone that they could not make their service more affordable.
    For prepaid cards of low denomination, they validity of the card is a problem
     for the customers. It has a validity of only 3 days.

Customer Growth

                    Year       Customer Base      Growth Rate
                    1997       6,000              100%
                    1998       13,000             105%
                    1999       27,000             102%
                    2000       37,000             30%
                    2001       50,000             24%
                    2002       80,000             48%
                    2003       300,000            340%
                    2004       1,000,000          266%
                    2005       3,000,000          300%
                      Table 4: Yearly customer growth of Aktel.








                     1     2     3      4        5   6    7       8   9

                      Figure 5: Yearly customer growth of Aktel

Aktel at a glance

      Events                   Particulars
1     Obtaining License        March 28,1997
2     Commercial Launching     November 1,1997
      Products                 Post-Paid and Pre-Paid

                               Aktel Regular: Both way BTTB Connectivity + ISD
3                              connection
                               Ashol Phone

      Sales & Information      Aktel has sales and information centers in 6
      centers                  districts.
                               Aktel has covered 61 districts along with all
5     Network Coverage
                               divisional H/Qs.
6                              Aktel uses GSM (Global System for Mobile)
                            Table 5: Aktel at a glance.


Citycell (Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Limited) is Bangladesh‟s pioneering mobile
communications company and the only CDMA network operator in the country.
Citycell is a customer-driven organization whose mission is to deliver the latest in
advanced telecommunication services to Bangladesh.

The company offers a full array of fixed and mobile services for consumers and
businesses that are focused on the unique needs of the Bangladeshi community.
Citycell‟s growth strategy is to integrate superior customer service, highest standard
technology and choice of packages at affordable rates.

The company operates a 24-hour call centre with over 86 well trained operators to
respond to customer queries. Citycell‟s customer service is open 7 days a week to
ensure customers can access Citycell at any convenient time.


Citycell is the first mobile operator in Bangladesh. They started their operation in
March 24, 1994. Citycell choose CDMA as their network technology. CDMA is
trusted to be the best mobile communication technology in the world in terms of
network performance. However, Citycell could not take the market leadership
because of their go-slow policy.

Citycell‟s is offering a wide range of competitive prepaid and postpaid mobile
packages as well as Value Added Services such as SMS and information based

Citycell is looking forward in introducing CDMA 1x technology in 2004 to provide
innovative multimedia features, including Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) and
many more data based mobile features currently not available in Bangladesh.

Establishment (Date)

Citycell was established on March 24, 1993


CityCell (Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Limited) is a privately owned company with
majority foreign ownership equity. SingTel Asia Pacific Investments Pte Ltd owns
45% of Citycell while Pacific motors and Far East Telecom Limited own 31.43% and
23.57% respectively.




                          SingTel   Pacific Motors   Far East Telecom

                             Figure 6: ownership of Citycell

Network Service with data

In Bangladesh:               54 districts, 325 thanas
Outside Bangladesh:          International Roaming in 315 countries

Successful Packages

Citycell has several successful packages. Few of them are stated below:
     Amar Phone
     Aalap 24

Social Activities

Citycell is involved in several social activities. For example, flood relief, donation to
the orphanage etc.


Citycell‟s technology allows it to retain customers as the handsets are not compatible
with other operators.


Citycell has few weaknesses. Those are:
     Network congestion: network congestion is very high on the special days like
       New Year, Eid and Bengali New Year etc.

     High call charge: high call charge is another major barrier for the low income
      group people. This should also be considered as a weakness of
      GrameenPhone that they could not make their service more affordable.

Citycell – At a Glance
     Events                   Particulars
 1   Obtaining License        March 1990.
 2   Commercial Launching     August 1993.
 3   Products                 Post-Paid and Pre-Paid
     Post-Paid                Shabar Phone (Mobile 250), CityCell500, Amar
                              Phone, CityCell Premium
      Pre-Paid                Aalap 24, Aalap B, Aalap Call me
4     Sales and info centers 2 in Dhaka, 1 in Chittagong and 1 in Syhlet.
5     Network Coverage        Citycell has covered 47 districts along with all
                              divisional H/Qs
6     Technology              CDMA
                            Table 6: Citycell at a glance.

Benefits of CDMA

     Superior voice quality and clarity by eliminating background noise.
     Low power consumption; hence higher talk time, enhanced battery life.
     Minimum health risks compared to other wireless technologies. Increased
      security and privacy as none other then the called person can listen to your
     Higher data transfer rates.
     Reduced interference on other electronic devices.

Customer Growth of Citycell

              Year          Customer Base           Growth Rate
                 1997               11,000                100%
                 1998               19,000                 73%
                 1999               25,649                 35%
                 2000               32,000                 25%
                 2001               49,500                 55%
                 2002              102,000                106%
                 2003              235,000                130%
                 2004              325,000                 38%
                 2005              590,000                 90%

                     Table 7: Yearly customer growth of Citycell




        400000                                                 Year
        300000                                                 Customer Base



                 1      2   3   4    5   6     7   8   9

                     Figure 7: Yearly customer growth of Citycell

Coverage map:

                             Map 2: Coverage of Citycell


Sheba was offered a cellular license in Bangladesh by the Ministry of Post and
Telecommunication on November 11, 1996. Sheba launched its service on August
31, 1998. Later on Orascom took over the company, now it is called Banglalink.

Establishment (Date)
Banglalink (formerly known as Sheba) started their operation on August 31, 1998

Orascom owns 100% of Banglalink

Network Service with data
In Bangladesh (Districts): 61 Districts, 421 Thanas

Successful Packages
Banglalink has few successful packages. Few of them are:
  1. Upper class
  2. Misti Komla

Social Activities
Banglalink sponsored several cricket tournaments in Bangladesh.


Banglalink have few weaknesses. Those are:

    Network congestion: network congestion is very high on the special days like
     New Year, Eid and Bengali New Year etc.

    High call charge: high call charge is another major barrier for the low income
     group people. This should also be considered as a weakness of Banglalink
     that they could not make their service more affordable.

Banglalink Coverage

                      Map 3: Coverage of Banglalink

Banglalink at a glance

     Events                    Particulars
1    Obtaining License         November 11,1996
2    Commercial Launching      August 31,1998
3    Products
     Pre-Paid                  Pre-Paid M2M
                               Pre-Paid M2M Plus
                               Pre-Paid Standard
     Post-Paid                 Upper Class (350 Tk. Monthly line rent + ISD)
                               Post-Paid Standard (350 Tk. Monthly line rent +
                               Post-Paid (350 Tk. Monthly line rent + PSTN -
                               Incoming + outgoing)
                               Post-Paid Mobile to Mobile (150 Tk. Monthly line
                               Upper Class
4    Sales and info centers    2 in Dhaka, 1 in Chittagong and 1 in Sylhet
5    Network Coverage          61 districts along with all divisional H/Qs
6    Technology                GSM
                         Table 8: Banglalink at a glance.



State-owned Teletalk Bangladesh Limited launched its commercial operation on 31st
March 2005 as the country‟s fifth cellular operator and first ever in public sector. The
company managed by fixed phone operator Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone
Board (BTTB) would spend about USD333 for its 250,000 GSM mobile phones.

Establishment (Date)

Teletalk launched its operation on March 31, 2005


Teletalk is a subsidiary of Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board.

Network Service with data

In Bangladesh (Districts): 44 Districts

Equipment Suppliers:
Major equipment suppliers of Teletalk are:
   5. Siemens (Germany)
   6. Huawei (China)

Social Activities
No social activities so far.

Teletalk has the opportunity of becoming a market leader as they the infrastructure
ready for almost all parts of the country (in terms of coverage). They also offer a very
competitive call charge which is lowest in the market.

Teletalk has the following weaknesses:
    Poor coverage
    Poor packaging
    Poor customer support

Customer Growth

                          Year            Customer Base
                          2005            69000
                          Table 9: Customer growth of Teletalk

                                  CHAPTER 3


Operators Techno Date of              Ownership        Equipment     Subscriber
          logy   launching                             Suppliers
                 November’            70% Telekom      Alcatel,      2,000,000
AKTEL     GSM    97                   Malaysia,        Ericsson,
                                      30% AK khan      Huawei
                       April’97       61% Telenor,     Ericsson      3,699,000
Grameen     GSM                       39%
Phone                                 Grameen
                       August”93      55% Pacific      Motorola      325,000
CityCell    CDMA                      Group, 45%
                       September”     100%             Siemens,      445,000
Banglalin   GSM        98             Orascom          Huawei
k                                     Telecom
            GSM        March 2005     100% BTTB        Alcatel,       69,000
TeleTalk                                               Siemens
               Table 10: Comparative view of existing mobile operators

Customer Growth:

       Years       GrameenPhone      Aktel        Citycell
       1997        18,000            6,000        11,000
       1998        30,000            13,000       19,000
       1999        60,000            27,000       25,649
       2000        193,000           37,000       32,000
       2001        470,000           50,000       49,500
       2002        750,000           80,000       102,000
       2003        1,050,000         300,000      235,000
       2004        2,699,000         1,000,000    325,000
       2005        5,566,000         3,000,000    590,000

      Table 11: Customer Growth of different mobile operators

                                            Yearly Customer Growth

          Different Mobile


                                       1    2   3   4    5        6   7   8   9

      Figure 8: Customer Growth of different mobile operators


Presently, AKTEL has a total market share of 25% with GrameenPhone having 62%,
Citycell 7%, and Banglalink 5%. The new public company, Teletalk, has a share of
1% within the span of 1 month since its inception.
Table 7: Market share of the mobile operators

                                 Operators                        Market Share
                                 GrameenPhone                     62%
                                 AKTEL                            25%
                                 CityCell                         7%
                                 Banglalink                       5%
                                 TeleTalk                         1%+
                                 Table 12: Market share of different operators

                    5%                          62%       Gram een Phone

               7%                                         AKT EL

                                                          Bangla Link

                                                          City Cell

                                                          T eleT alk

             Figure 9: Market Share of Mobile Companies in Bangladesh


    Mobile               Strategy                  Slogan
    CityCell           Proven dependability         Because We Care
    AKTEL              Modernity                    Clearly Ahead
    Banglalink         Making mobile affordable You, First
    GrameenPhone       Communication for every      In the hands of people
    TeleTalk           Nil                          Nil
                Table 13: Strategies and slogans of mobile operators


Industry analysis assesses the attractiveness of a market based on its economic
structure. Porter has provided conceptual framework for industry analysis. He
developed a five-factor model for industry analysis, known as The Porter‟s Five
Forces Model. The model determines the strength of the competitive forces within an
industry and hence industry profitability. Below Porter‟s Model is used in order to
analyze the telecommunication industry.

The Porter‟s Five Forces Model is analyzed in order to identify the key forces in the
competitive environment, the underline forces driving competitive forces, strengths
and weaknesses of competitors etc. Principally, it is a model that helps to
understand the overall industry condition. In order to understand the overall
telecommunication industry condition of Bangladesh, it is essential to analyze the
Porter‟s Five Forces Model.

                                   Barriers to Entry

      Bargaining                                                        Bargaining
       Power of                      Rivalry among                       Power of
       Suppliers                     Existing Firms                       Buyers
         High)                                                         (Moderately Low)

                                      Threat of

                        Figure 10: Porter‟s Five Forces Model



Analysis on the overall telecommunication industry in Bangladesh shows a high
barrier to entry in the industry.
The barrier is high because-
    The entry involves a substantial capital requirement/initial investment (such as
       setting up network towers, tower maintenance cost, government tax,
       administrative cost, HR cost, promotional cost etc.)
    Because of the high fixed cost involved in the operation, it is hard to achieve
       the desired level of Economies of Scale.
    Switching cost in this industry is very high and involves a large capital loss.
    Bangladesh is a too risky market to penetrate successfully (high political and
       economical risks, uncertain weather conditions etc.).
    The industry faces high government restrictions due to their complicated
       policies such as the enforcement of recent VAT policy of TK.900 on each SIM
    The brand identity/image of five present operators (GP, AKTEL, Citycell,
       Banglalink, Teletalk) is highly strong in the market, which will make it difficult
       for the new entrants to make an individual identity.

    Due to the absence of proper patent rules on technology, the practice of
     imitation is high and there is no protection on intelligence flow from companies
     to companies. The only factor making it easy for the new entrants is the
     access to distribution channels (dealers, distributors), which is high.


Analysis on the overall telecommunication industry in Bangladesh shows a high level
of rivalry among existing firms due to the following reasons:

    Telecommunication industry is a fast growing industry in Bangladesh.
     Therefore, the level of competition is high since the companies have to cope
     up with the fast changing needs of customers by offering new services on a
     regular basis.
    The practice of aggressive marketing, which has created a promotional battle
     among the companies, has intensified the rivalry.
    Telecommunication is an industry with high fixed costs. This has enhanced
     the competition among the operators, as the firms are forced to cut price to
     enable them to operate at capacity.
    Differentiation, both real and perceived, among competing offerings is low,
     which further has boosted the rivalry in the industry.
    Difficulty of exit from the industry has increased the level of competition.
    However, comparing to the market size of mobile phone users in Bangladesh
     (the potential market size is 15 million; source: newspaper), the number of
     competitors in the industry is low. There are only 4 private and 1 public
     companies operating in the industry. Among these companies, only 4 offer
     GSM technology and 1 offers CDMA technology. Low number of competitors
     has narrowed the competition to some extent.


Analysis on the overall telecommunication industry in Bangladesh shows a
moderately low bargaining power of buyers due to the following reasons:
The power is low because-
    There are only four private mobile phone companies (GP, AKTEL, CityCell,
      Banglalink) operating in the industry. Only 3 of them offer GSM technology
      and 1 offers CDMA technology. The other public company, TeleTalk, is a
      recent addition and their supply of SIM cards is not adequate in the market. In
      this circumstance, customers do not have many choices. Consequently, they
      have low bargaining power over the prices charged by the operators.
    At the moment, there are around 62 lakh mobile phone subscribers (source:
      newspaper) in Bangladesh. This number is expected to increase to 15 million
      soon. Nevertheless, the number of companies providing mobile phone
      services is only 5. As there is a high concentration of customer comparing to
      the number of operators, the bargaining power of buyers is low.
    So far, there is no perfect substitute of mobile phone services. T&T phone and
      e-mail might be the alternatives, however, they don‟t give the mobility facility.
      Because of no ideal substitute of mobile phones, buyers‟ bargaining power
      has decreased.

    The cost of switching mobile phone lines is fairly high for the buyers because
     of the recent VAT of TK.900 imposed by the government. According to the
     new policy, a customer has to pay TK.900 VAT including the actual SIM price
     each time he/she buys a new mobile phone connection. High switching cost
     definitely lessens buyers‟ power.
    The customers cannot threaten the companies to produce the SIM cards by
     themselves. As the threat of backward integration is low, buyers‟ power

The power is moderate because-
    The key function of a mobile phone is “communication”. The possible
      substitutes of mobile phone services are public and private PSTN phone
      services. Though the public sector in Bangladesh is not capable of providing
      sufficient services, private sector is becoming a forthcoming competitor of
      mobile phone companies. Buyers have the opportunity of switching to PSTN
      phone services, if mobile phone companies impose a higher price or call-
      charge. This is a power for buyers.


Analysis on the overall telecommunication industry in Bangladesh shows a
moderately high bargaining power of suppliers due to the following reasons:
The barrier is high because-

    The number of SIM cheap, handset, and network suppliers is low. There is no
     local supplier in Bangladesh. All the suppliers are giant foreign companies
     with high bargaining power over their buyers.
    Being foreign companies, most of the suppliers have numerous local and
     foreign clients. As the number of service-buyers is high, the suppliers have
     choices and thus high power.
    Most of the suppliers are big companies with strong financial back up.
     Therefore, there is a high possibility that these suppliers will start providing
     mobile phone services any time soon. The threat of forward integration adds
     to supplier power.

The power is moderate because-
    The number of content (value added service) and office equipment suppliers
      is high, since both local and foreign suppliers provide these services. Due to
      high concentration, these suppliers have moderate bargaining power over the


Analysis on the overall telecommunication industry in Bangladesh shows a high
threat of substitute products due to the following reasons:

    The possible substitutes of mobile phone services are public and private
     PSTN phone services. Though the public sector in Bangladesh is not capable
     of providing sufficient services, private sector is becoming a forthcoming
     competitor of mobile phone companies. Having functional similarity, the threat
     of PSTN phone services to is high.

    Though the purchase price of PSTN phone is high, the call-charge is
     considerably low than mobile phone charges. Moreover, the user can make
     calls anywhere in the world from these PSTN phones. Because of their
     attractive offers, the chance of people‟s switching to PSTN phones is high,
     which is a threat to mobile operators.

                                   CHAPTER 4


Cell-Phone in the villages and cities of Bangladesh is altogether a novel idea. Mobile
phones made it happen and the direct beneficiary of the information flow are the
rural poor. Telecom is the best solution for universal access by joining the islands of
isolation. Mobile phone Services in Bangladesh aim to provide quality customer
service to the country. A professionally trained team is dedicated to provide after
Sales Services and Solutions customized to the need of the business customers and
initiate pro-active visits as a part of routine contact to look into the needs with an aim
to build long-term professional relationships.

Facilities for individual customers

 Mobile phone services offer various service packages as a complete s solution to
fulfill the various communication needs. Comprising of modern telecommunication
services for any needs,

     Provide voice services, messaging services and mobile data and internet
     Provide a complete Mobile Office solution, including mobile e-mail, mobile
      high speed data access, internet access, mobile fax and more, giving people
      the freedom to work from anywhere they want to.
     Special fulltime customer service.
     Pre paid and post paid system.
     Roaming system.
     GrameenPhone is providing the SMS service to important places.

Benefits & Facilities For business Customers

The business customers of Mobile Phone service of Bangladesh enjoy the following
privileged services:

        Special features are available that are given to certain preferential
         business customers
        Business customers will get special credit facilities for usage but the
         connections might be barred for unpaid bills
        Special & dedicated Business Solutions Hotline Service
        Dedicated Sales personnel to facilitate Business Solutions Customer with
         further sales

Benefits and Facilities for Women

The Grameen Bank, Bangladesh‟s largest NGO started a program to promote mobile
phone micro businesses in rural regions. Participates in the program are called the
“Grameen Phone Ladies”. Banglalink also offered a package “ladies First”. Women
from rural villages apply for low interest loans to pay for a mobile phone exchange. In
turn, the women (men are considered too high a credit risk) provide their villages
with phone service, charging users by the minute. Grameen Phone Ladies are often
their villages‟ only connection to the outside world, even receiving calls and taking
message which are delivered to the villagers.

The service helps not only the women but the entire village. These have become so
popular that people from miles around come to make business or personal calls.
Farmers use the service to find the best prices for their crops while many village
women call their husbands working abroad. Without the Grameen Phone Ladies
many villages would have little contact with the outside world and women would
have almost none.
Grameen Phone Ladies typically have 10–15 clients per day and earn four times the
average national income.
the respect the women receive from other villagers, especially the men. Grameen
Phone Ladies are empowered through the service they provide. In 2004 there was
around 50,000 Grameen Phone Ladies throughout rural Bangladesh.

               This service is not only improving but also empowering the women

Picture 1: GrameenPhone empowering women


   Unfortunately, the current growth rate of cellular subscribers is limited by a
    restricted number of interconnections to the national backbone owned and
    operated by the Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB). This
    has implications for both service providers and service purchasers. In order to
    avoid this constraint, several of the cellular operators have successfully opted
    to sell phones that only connect with other cell phones.

   Some critics have questioned whether the GrameenPhone Ladies program is
    sustainable in the future. As mobile phone penetration grows exponentially
    thanks to cheaper service and handsets, the phone ladies might find
    themselves quickly loosing their monopoly on their village‟s phone service.
    Perhaps however, now that the GrameenPhone Ladies have had their first
    taste of entrepreneurship, it will take more than a changing market to stop
    their growth.

   Most of the villages where we have provided Village Phone are situated at the
    outer edges of the cells. Sometimes signals fluctuate.

   Frequent drop calls, loss of revenue and customers dissatisfaction. We are
    concerned about this problem. This type of problem especially faced on
    occasion such as Eid, New Year, Nobo Borsho.

   The Government policies hinder the mobile Phone operator services.such as
    sudden increment of the government tax, enforcement of law on free calls.

   Power for charging the battery is another problem. There are villages with
    network coverage, but without electricity. The number of such villages will
    increase as we move far from Dhaka city. We have tested solar panel and DC
    batteries as alternatives.

   Emerging markets have higher numbers of textually non-literate people than
    more developed markets

   Effective use of mobile phone features requires an understanding of textual

   Contact management and asynchronous communication in particular presents
    challenges for textually non-literate people

   Challenge to improvements to the phone, the ecosystem and to the operator

   Mobile Phone is able to provide rural service, despite the monopoly licenses
    held by BRTA and Sheba, because it holds a license for "mobile" service.
    Thus, the -----mobile character of GSM cellular phones enables Mobile Phone
    to work with Grameen Telecom to provide PCO-style operations in rural areas
    where its towers and signals can reach. Grameen Telecom is limited to
    providing Village Phones within the thin corridors covered by its network of

     cellular towers. There are large gaps in its rural coverage that must be
     covered if Grameen Telecom is to meet its goal of universal access. BRTA
     and Sheba have been prevented from deploying extensive rural telephone
     coverage because BTTB has not provided them with sufficient interconnection
     to meet demand. They could deploy more phones, but users would
     experience problems when they try to connect to the phone lines of other
     operators. Even with the limited number of phones each operator has
     deployed today, users experience significant frustration with interconnection,
     often trying for over an hour to place a single call from a rural area to a
     number in Dhaka. BRTA currently operates approximately 20,000 lines, the
     majority in the form of official or unofficial Public Calling Offices, with plans to
     double this number if the interconnection problem is solved. Indeed, when we
     visited with BRTA, we were informed that it had a warehouse full of new
     digital wireless loop equipment that it could not deploy because of the
     interconnection problem. One of the competing operators to GrameenPhone
     currently operates 1,500 rural lines as Public Calling Offices and will likely
     also expand its coverage if the interconnection problem is solved.


The mobile operators should focus more on

   To provide easy access to telephones when needed all over rural
   To introduce a new income generating source for villagers;
   To bring the potential of the Information Revolution to the doorsteps of
   To introduce telecommunications as a new weapon against poverty.
   Provide high quality of customer service.

   First rural development micro-credit facility in a developing country to target
    the creation of micro-enterprises based on information and communication
    technology (ICT) services
   to assist in the creation of village telephone service businesses using digital,
    wireless telephony
   initiative that specifically targets poor village women for establishing micro-
    enterprise (targeted, micro-level program)
   First private sector telecom initiative with an explicit purpose of rural poverty
   Mobile phones will gradually expand their networks throughout the country.
    Following the network, they will expand its operational areas for village
    phones as well. Using the Fibre Optic Network (FON) of Bangladesh
    Railways, GP, aktel, and in between these areas. Further, GP has connected
    Chittagong with Khulna, through its own backbone microwave link. This has
    permitted connecting another major town

    One final consideration that is of considerable importance for future Internet
     and data services is that GSM cellular phone technology is currently not a
     viable option for inexpensive email/Internet/data connectivity. WLL and other
     options can provide much better bandwidth and cost of service.

The GSM cellular phone market in Bangladesh has emerged during the last three
years. The first licenses were granted in November 1996. Today, there are four
national cellular operators with 100,000 subscribers centered in urban areas, and
80,000 additional subscribers are expected during 2000. To put this growth in
context, Bangladesh has approximately 500,000 fixed line telephones (350,000
considered operational), and 2/3 of these are in the Dhaka area. The country's
teledensity is somewhere between 0.26 and 0.3/100 people - in other words, there
are 2-3 fixed line phones per 1000 people. This teledensity is one of the lowest in the
world. Teledensity is closely related to the development status of a country, as
estimated by UNDP's Human Development Index (see Figure B). In the context of
Figure B, this means that Bangladesh, with 28% of phone subscribers using mobile
cellular technology, is poised to be off the Economist chart (see above) in a matter of

Mobile Phone Service Phone is used as a community phone in the cities and villages
where telephone was a rarity earlier. One VP covers approximately 2500 people of
that village. As per our estimates the currently operative 5000 VP have provided
telephone access to 12.5 million rural people. Average usage of village phones is
around 1600 minutes per month, out of which 600 minutes are outgoing calls. This
unique concept (of the Village phone program) has attracted the attention and
interest of the international media and different operators. It seems to be a very
prospective project in terms of usefulness to villagers anywhere in the world, who
remain isolated.


     Telecommunication magazine Asia Trade Hub


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