Bangladesh lacks use cases for 5G
Creating scalable 5G use cases for business is the main challenge for a meaningful commercial rollout of the service in Bangladesh, according to experts.
"There are still very minimal use cases in the country as local industries are yet to change their mindset on 5G, making it harder to introduce this technology," said Khaled Mahmud, an associate professor of the Institute of Business Administration at the University of Dhaka.
Most countries have already completed research and development projects to tailor their 5G use cases. However, Bangladesh's progress is not as satisfactory in this area, he added.
Mahmud made these comments while delivering a presentation at an event on "5G: Possibilities, Challenges and Way Forward" jointly organised by the Telecom and the Technology Reporters' Network Bangladesh (TRNB) and Robi Axiata.
The event was held to celebrate the mobile network operator's 25th anniversary at a hotel in Dhaka yesterday.
The overall ecosystem in Bangladesh is not ready to deploy 5G in full-scale but advanced industries and factories could adopt the technology on a case-to-case basis.
He suggested a 5G deployment approach on a use case maturity basis and limited scale deployment.
"Regulators of respective sectors should collaborate and formulate policies to encourage industries to adopt IR 4.0 and 5G technologies. So, incentives for organisations adopting 5G solutions are needed," Mahmud said.
Telecom Minister Mustafa Jabbar said the use case for business and customers' readiness should be considered before rolling out 5G.
Shyam Sunder Sikder, chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), said they are ready to provide all kinds of support to mobile network operators to bring 5G technology to the country.
"Many of the stakeholders in this sector are not ready for 5G as they need to be prepared," he added.
Mohammed Shahedul Alam, chief corporate and regulatory officer of Robi Axiata, said there is huge potential to introduce 5G in the country.
"So, both the telecom industry and consumer segment need to tap into this potential," he added.
Alam went on to say that Robi is working towards launching 5G technology.
"But if stakeholders do not collaborate in creating 5G use cases, we will not be able to properly reap the benefits of this technology," he said.
Robi is the second largest mobile network operator in Bangladesh. On a year-on-year basis, the number of customers of Robi, which operates under brand names Robi and Airtel, increased 5.2 per cent to 5.49 crore in August.
Axiata Group Berhad of Malaysia holds a controlling stake of 61.82 per cent in Robi Axiata while Bharti Airtel of India holds 28.18 per cent and the general public holds the remaining 10 per cent.
Rashed Mehedi, president of the TRNB, and Masuduzzaman Robin, general secretary, also spoke at the event.