With more than 200,000 users signing up for Teletalk's 3G offer in less than a year's time, the service has given the state run company quite a lot of exposure. Being the sole provider of this 3G service, its launch followed much hype. The question now is -- how has the service been so far?
The 3G service provides high speed wireless internet and allows mobile users to use their smart phones for TV viewing and holding video conferences, services previously unavailable.
A fast browsing and downloading speed is also another popular aspect of the service. Rolling out 3G, Teletalk took the next step towards attaining the vision of a Digital Bangladesh.
Teletalk currently offers 5 different 3G tariff plans, including the Projonmo package, which is the default package for new users. For a connection fee of Tk 900, this prepaid package offers competitive tariffs and a free internet package of 1 GB. There is also the post-paid package, titled 'Gravity', which is currently retailing for Tk 1250, although it remains a promotional package. In both cases, the tariff rates are hard to be used to judge the services, as there is no competition in 3G services so far.
Sakeb Subhan, a regular user of the 3G service, swears by it. “It is indeed very fast. I watch live cricket matches on it all the time and stream videos and so far have not been disappointed,” he said.
Emran Taher, a teacher, also praised the speed of the internet. “It is probably the fastest mobile internet speed one can get and it is quite reliable.” The 3G technology does actually provide a pleasurable internet experience, with videos streaming quite fast and download speed crossing the 2MB line on occasions. However, with any new technology there remains room for improvement.
Recently, users have complained about Teletalk's network disruption, adaptation problem and previous experience with Teletalk mobile phone services. 3G users often find themselves without any network bars and those who have migrated from 2G packages are the ones with the bulk of the complaints.
Nayeem Islam, a private firm employee, laments the number of call drops he faces while video conferencing. “It's like using Skype at a Cyber café. Calls constantly drop and I have to repeatedly call the same person. Conversations are regularly interrupted,” he said. Other complains from those who have migrated from 2G to 3G involves incompatibility of their smart-phones with the new SIM card. The most common complaint though remains the loss of signal in certain localities. Many have gone as far as deeming the service sub-standard.
However, despite the problems, there are many users of the 3G service who urge others to see past the flaws. The 3G service is indeed faster than other internet services available and overlooking what is called a sub-standard benchmark, there is belief that competition will further improve Teletalk's 3G services. Teletalk 3G is soon launching in Chittagong and Sylhet and the state run company is looking into the problematic issues.