Prime Minister's ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy yesterday directed the telecom regulator to introduce fourth generation (4G) services in the country by this year.
“The ICT adviser has directed us on making quick arrangements to launch 4G,” said Tarana Halim, state minister of the telecom division.
All the mobile operators are almost ready to offer 4G and customers will be able to enjoy the fastest data service within a short time, she said.
Tarana Halim spoke to The Daily Star after a meeting with Joy at the division. She said Joy gave them direction on several issues before high officials of the government's telecom entities.
Joy said people are being deprived of technological advancements for a delay in launching 4G in the country, said an official present at the meeting.
Joy also focused on improving the service quality of the mobile operators, said Tarana. To improve the overall quality of services, Joy has directed the regulator to allow technological neutrality.
Mobile operators are currently using the 2100 band for 3G and the 900 and 1800 bands for 2G services. After receiving neutrality, operators will be allowed to offer any service in any band, which will reduce operators' cost of doing business and improve service quality.
“We will write to the telecom regulator within in a day or two on this matter. After the regulator gives its recommendations, we will give the approval on technological neutrality and 4G services,” said Tarana.
Joy has also asked the regulator to award mobile number portability services within a couple of months, which will help customers to switch operators without having to change their mobile numbers.
Joy also cautioned state owned mobile operator Teletalk, directing it to comply with the regulator's directives. Teletalk owes BTRC Tk 45 lakh as fines for illegal call termination, but it has not paid it for years. Joy has directed them to pay it within a week, said officials who attended the meeting. “The government will not tolerate Teletalk's wrongdoings and they will have to survive by competing with the other private companies,” said Joy.
The advisor also came down heavily on BTRC, asking it to be strict on collecting outstanding fees from the private operators. “What you did with Citycell was not right,” said Joy. “There are now three private operators in the market, in addition to state owned Teletalk, and they can easily manipulate the market.”
Faizur Rahman Chowdhury, secretary of the telecom division, Shahjahan Mahmood, BTRC chairman, and managing directors of the government telecom companies and senior officials of other government offices were also present.