Grameenphone is ready to offer fourth generation (4G) mobile services now, its chief executive said.
Rajeev Sethi said they have enabled their 10,026 sites with faster internet (3G) technology and all these sites can provide fourth generation telecom services.
“For doing so, we only need spectrum neutrality,” Sethi said in an interview on Tuesday.
“We found there is demand for faster internet services.”
Users are watching videos and they do not bother which technology they are using. “Right now we found Bangladeshi customers are searching for more and more video contents. Users are even watching TV through mobile network.”
Once the 4G network is ready, the number of customers using this technology will rise drastically, he said. The number of 3G-enabled sites of Grameenphone was 10,026 in June.
Spectrum neutrality, which allows operators to provide any kind of services using any spectrum, will benefit end-users the most, Sethi said, adding that most markets in the world enjoy spectrum neutrality.
Operators in some countries are even thinking about 5G technology, he said. Grameenphone, with the help of technology equipment vendor Huawei, already gave its network a test run for 4G services and found huge speed.
During the trial run, the operator used spectrum in the 2100 band though 1800 band is most popular worldwide for 4G services.
“Grameenphone is the first company to take the benefits of mobile telephony to every town, every village and every house of the country, and now we want to do the same in the internet segment,” said Sethi.
The operator's 3G service covers more than 90 percent population of the country, he said.
Not many countries saw this extensive expansion in such a short time. He gave the example of India and said the country started 3G rollout much before Bangladesh but their network is not so expanded in terms of coverage.
“They are yet to bring 90 percent of their population under 3G service. If you look at Thailand, Indonesia and even Malaysia, you will not find Grameenphone's level of coverage.”
And all these achievements made Grameenphone the best network in the country for both voice and data, said Sethi.
He said the rest of their sites will become 3G-enabled in a few months. The operator spent Tk 1,900 crore in 2015 on network expansion and Tk 1,360 crore in the first half this year.
The market leader already brought different services like music and healthcare and a pilot project is ongoing for education services. “This is just the beginning of an exciting journey.”
The 3G services have made people's lives faster and the government can bring more and more services digitally, he said.
On the call drop issue he said Grameenphone's service quality is better compared to the operators in developed countries. “We are performing much better across all the parameters of the International Telecommunication Union,” he added.
The operator is now working in the areas where its service quality is not up to the mark. “Now our focus will be on improving service quality, especially in big cities like Dhaka.”
On the recent terror attack in Dhaka, he said it has led to a tragic situation, but will not affect their investment in the country.
“I am not much concerned about the issue.”
However, they have taken extra steps to ensure security of their network and base stations, according to Sethi. “We are closely working with all the government agencies.”
About taxation he said tax is increasing every year for the telecom sector. Tax rose 5-6 percent last fiscal year, which put pressure on end-users, he added.