Printed on Wed Sep 28 2022 7:23:11 PM

5G launched in Bangladesh from today

Staff Correspondent
Along with more than 60 countries of the world, today Bangladesh is also going to launch a fifth-generation mobile internet service or 5G.

State-owned mobile operator Teletalk is going to be the first to introduce this high-speed technology. Private operators are expected to be able to launch the service gradually after the wave auction in March next year.

Teletalk will provide this service on a trial basis in 6 locations across the country. These include the Prime Minister's Office, Jatiya Sangsad, Secretariat, Bangabandhu Museum at Dhanmondi No. 32, Tungipara in Gopalganj, the birthplace of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and the National Memorial at Savar.

Teletalk's managing director Sahab Uddin confirmed the matter.

Teletalk's 65 lakh subscribers will have to wait a few more days to receive this service. This is because the operator has not yet received approval for a project worth Tk 235 crore to install the necessary equipment in 200 places. Customers of private operators will have to wait until the wave auction is over.

5G technology promises to provide mobile internet services 20 times faster than 4G technology. According to a report by the news agency Reuters, 5G services can transform modern technologies and ideas such as automated cars, augmented reality, smart cities, and artificial intelligence into reality.

With this technology, it is possible to bring more advanced video streaming services to more people.

Sahab Uddin said, "5G is the highway of automation."

According to an invitation letter from the Department of Telecommunications, the pilot program of the 5G service will be inaugurated at a function at the Radisson Hotel in Dhaka.

Although 5G has been introduced experimentally, Bangladesh has not yet benefited much from 3G and 4G technology.

Through the mobile networks, 95% of the people of the country have now come under 4G mobile broadband network. However, only 28 percent of mobiles are still connected to 4G. The remaining 25 percent use 3G and 47 percent subscribe to 2G services.

This information was given in a report by GSM Association (GSMA) last March.

Note that this organization works to protect the interests of mobile phone operators around the world.

According to the data of last October, there are 12 crores 92 lakh internet subscribers in Bangladesh. Of these, 11 crores 91 lakh subscribers are using this service on mobile phones and the rest through internet service providers.

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Vice Chairman Subrata Roy Maitra said, "The launch of 5G services by 2021 was included in the government's election manifesto."

He says 4G and 5G services are not the same. While 4G deals with connectivity, 5G's application is industry-based.

"So, the two should not be compared."

The first 5G network was launched in April 2019 in South Korea and the United States.

Currently, 5G services are commercially available in 1,336 cities in 61 countries around the world, according to an Arizona-based company called Vivi.

This information has been given in the report titled 'The State of 5G' published last June by the service provider which tests the network capabilities and other issues in the laboratory.

According to Abu Saeed Khan, a senior policy fellow at LIRNEasia, a Colombo-based telecommunications research firm, the decision to launch 5G services was not based on market demand. This is basically a political decision.

He said, "Taxpayers' money is being wasted through this. It is a work of a man to talk about 5G without developing a weak 4G service."

He added that the number of smartphone users in Bangladesh has not yet exceeded 35 percent. Many people will not get this service as there is a shortage of handsets with 5G service in the country.

'We don't need 5G services as per the market demand. We need full 4G services, he added.

Telecom expert Saeed said a proper policy is needed to provide quality 4G services by sharing infrastructure.

That is why the government should reform the anti-broadband policy on optical fiber infrastructure. The issue of infrastructure sharing should be a must for everyone, ”he said.

According to Abu Saeed Khan, Teletalk is still a defaulter in terms of payment for the spectrum. So, it is utterly unethical to glorify the operator using taxpayers' money for such a politicized farce of technology.

Saheb, managing director of Teletalk, said the operator has urged the finance ministry to convert the spectrum fee into equity as the government is the owner of the spectrum.

Responding to the absence of smooth service for its subscribers, he says the number of towers, also known as base transceiver stations (BTS), of Teletalk is a third of Grameenphone's. And, it could not invest to expand BTS for a lack of investment.

"If investment increases, the quality of service will improve," he said.

Last March, GSMA called for initiatives to increase the use of mobile internet in Bangladesh by focusing on taxes, subsidies, and business innovation through appropriate policies and laws.

The organization called on the government to create an ecosystem to increase digital knowledge among people and create content locally.

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