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Bangladesh Telecommunications 


Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is one of the fastest growing sectors of Bangladesh's. Committed to establish “Digital Bangladesh”, the country has taken several significant steps for the development of ICT infrastructure and a legal framework. The ICT Act (revision), 2009 and National ICT Policy, 2009 have already been promulgated. The ICT Act has duly addressed the legal issues involved. The National ICT Policy is structured around a vision, 10 broad objectives, 56 strategic themes and 306 action items to be implemented by 49 Ministries/Divisions/Departments either on the short term (18 months or less), medium term (5 years or less) or long term (10 years or less). Meanwhile some immediate action items have been implemented.

Bangladesh is seen as one of the fast growing markets in South-Eastern Asia. Out of the telephone subscribers in Bangladesh, 98% were mobile subscribers in 2014/2015 with the remaining 2% being landline operator subscriber.

According to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, with more than 130 million subscribers with the available six mobile operators. The mobile network operators saw some drop in their active connect numbers due to the government making biometric verification for SIM registration being made mandatory since December 2015.

Mobile broadband has been growing at a high rate but still remains very low with only 13% of all Bengali mobile subscribers having 3G/4G technology.

Steps have been taken to introduce e-governance, e-commerce, and e-banking in the country. Now electric bill payment and advanced messages on disaster are done through mobile phone.

Peformance

According to telecommunication policy, tele-density is targeted to be enhanced by 10 percent in the next 10 years. According to BTRC forecast, telephone subscribers will rise to 50 million.
The tele-density now stands around 47.8 percent, which is more than three times than that of projected target. The aim of the Commission is to progressively rely on competitive market oriented system. In keeping with this objective, the Commission is committed to ensure effective control on telecommunication and to introduce new services and to create a favourable atmosphere for the local and foreign investors who intend to invest in the telecommunication sector in Bangladesh.

Optical Fibre Network

In order to deploy Optical Fibre Network throughout the country, Optical Fibre links between Dhaka - Chittagong, Chittagong - Cox’s Bazaar, Bogra – Rangpur - Panchagarh, Khulna - Satkhira, Chittagong – Hathazari – Betbunia - Rangamati Dhaka - Bogra and Dhaka - Munshigonj and some other spur links of the country have been completed.

Public Operator

Even if the majority of the ICT services are provided by private sector companies, one public sector agency also provides a global scope of related services. Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL) has a mandate to provide basic telecommunication services throughout the country. At present, BTCL is providing telephone service to about 1 million telephone subscribers down to Upazila (Thana) and growth centre level. Most of them can also use dial-up internet service.

Telephone Services

Is there an existing landline telephone network?

Yes, besides BTCL, 9 private sector companies have received a license to operate land line telephone services, at national, zonal or local level

Does it allow international calls?

Yes

On average, number and length of downtime periods

 N/A

Mobile phone providers

Grameen

Airtel Bangladesh

Banglalink

Robi Axiata

Teletalk Bangladesh

Pacific Bangladesh Telecom (Citycell)

Estimated availability and coverage
(Approximate percentage of national coverage)

 All 64 districts have coverage. In total 90% of Bangladesh has telecommunication coverage

NOTE: Subscription procedure: Foreigners have to provide copies of passport and visa, as well as international details to obtain a mobile line.

Telecommunication Regulation

All broadcasting equipment need license provided by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission
It can be possible to use telecommunication material in Bangladesh and the procedure has been listed as follow
1- To be registered at the NGO Affairs
2- Request a licence to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Authority

Regulations on Usage and Import

 

Regulations in Place?

Regulating Authority

Satellite

Yes

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Authority

HF Radio

Yes

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Authority

UHF/VHF/HF radio: handheld, base and mobile

Yes

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Authority

UHF/VHF repeaters

Yes

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Authority

GPS

Yes

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Authority

VSAT

Yes

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Authority

Individual Network Operator Licenses Required

Guidelines
General Guideline to apply for National Signaling Point Code (NSPC), Numbering, Prior Permission and NOC for Custom Clearance
1. The information is a general guideline for the any Operator /Service Provider to apply for the following:
• National Signaling Point Code (NSPC).
• Numbering.
• Prior permission to import equipment.
• No Objection Certificate (NOC) for custom clearance.
2. The following documents are required for NSPC:
• Forwarding Letter using organisation's Letter Head Pad.
• Copy of License/Licenses (not necessary if it is provided earlier).
• Full Network diagram in Map.
• Interconnection Network.
• If the NSPC is for outside of the license area should be justified.
• Address of the Main Switching Centre (MSC) for which NSPC is required.
3. The following documents are required for Numbering:
• Forwarding letter using organisation's Letter Head Pad.
• Copy of the License(s) (not necessary if it is provided earlier).
• Network diagram.
4. The following documents are required for Prior permission:
• Forwarding letter using organisation's Letter Head Pad.
• Catalog/Brochure.
• List of equipment (Brand name, Model no., Qty)(4 copies).
• Copy of the License/Licenses (not necessary if it is provided earlier).
5. The following documents are required for Customers Clearance:
• Forwarding Letter using organisation's Letter Head Pad.
• Copy of Prior Permission.
• Air Way Bill (AWB).
• Invoice.
• Packing list.

Frequency Licenses Required

  •  As above


Existing Humanitarian Telecoms Systems

Actually only UN agencies are using a wave communication radio network. It is not a special issue to implement and import communication radio systems in the country but the need to have such radio communication system is not so high.

  • WFP has VSAT (not be shared due to capacity restrictions). WFP is exploring avenues of sharing VSAT facilities of UNDP at Dhaka and Rangamati
  • VHF is shared by all UN agencies from the repeater pool of UNDP
  • Initial licenses for communication equipment were procured by UNDP. Since UNDP is the coordinating agency for all UN organizations at Bangladesh, the government normally allows all UN agencies to use licenses procured by UNDP. However most UN organizations have obtained individual licenses for their requirements
  • WFP, UNICEF, ADB, ILO, FAO, UNHCR and UNDP have HF frequencies
  • UNDP uses HF frequencies for communication at Chittagong Hill Tracts and Rangamati on a 24/7 basis
  • UNHCR uses HF frequencies for communication at Gulshan in Dhaka and for communication with the two refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar.

Existing UN Telecommunication Systems

Organizations

UNDP

WFP

ADB

UNFPA

FAO

UNHCR

VHF frequencies

 Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

HF frequencies

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Repeaters
(Locations)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

VSAT

 n/a

 n/a

 n/a

 n/a

 n/a

 n/a


Internet Service Providers (ISPs)

  • In 2005 there were more than 180 ISPs operating in the country. ISP's are regulated by the BTRC. In 2016, there were 119 licensed ISPs providing services nationwide and 65 ISPs providing services in the central zone.

  • Broadband Internet and e-commerce in Bangladesh is slowly progressing. In 2009 there were 50,000 fixed broadband Internet subscribers. However, In March of 2016 there are currently 3 million ISP/PSTN users. Though broadband Internet access is available, the charges for high speed connections are higher than in other south Asian countries, though this is changing.

Internet Service Providers

Are there ISPs available?

 Yes

Private or Government

 Both

Dial-up only?

 No

Approximate Rates

Dial-up:

 

Broadband:

 BDT600 per Mbit/s

Max leasable ‘dedicated’ bandwidth

 N/A

Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)

Currently there are only two mobile operators that offer mobile financial services. Both require their partner banks, as from a legal and regulatory perspective, only the banks are allowed to operate mobile services. Therefore, the “mobile account” will rest with the bank and not with the mobile network operator. Banglalink promotes its mobile money solution independently whereas Citycell is the only network provider for Dutch Bangla Bank Ltd (DBBL). Grammen Phone mobile money also uses DBBL and has the preferred MNO for the WFP cash transfer program.

For information on MNOs please visit the GSM Association website.

Company

Number of agent outlets by area

Network strength by area

Contracted for humanitarian or government cash transfer

Programmes?

Services offered

(e.g. merchant payment,

bulk disbursement,

receive & make payment)

Banglalink

 

All areas except highland region <90%

No

-Receive remittances

-Cash-out possible at Banglalink mobile cash points and Western Unions

-Send and receive cash through post offices

 

Citycell

 121,337 DBBL agents

 89%

Yes

-Inward foreign

Remittance coming from Middle East and UK via AB Bank.

-SMS Banking

-cash withdraw at banks, ATMs and agent points

Grameen

121,337 DBBL agents

 

Yes

-Cash in through DBBL

-receive and make payments

-merchant payment

 

Disclaimer: Inclusion of company information in the LCA does not imply any business relationship between the supplier and WFP / Logistics Cluster, and is used solely as a determinant of services, and capacities.

Please note: WFP / Logistics Cluster maintain complete impartiality and are not in a position to endorse, comment on any company's suitability as a reputable service provider.