3G is no luxury
There is some misconception about the 3G (third generation) mobile technology in Bangladesh. People think that it is a luxury product and it has the capacity to change the people's live overnight, which is wrong. The policymakers as well as the media are also presenting the technology in the same way, said a telecom analyst.
3G is not all about watching television through mobile phone, or making video calls, nor a luxury.
The regulator seemed baffled even a few years ago.
“Who will watch television through mobile phone in Bangladesh? Moreover a lot of people are still out of mobile voice service, so they are not in need of video call. It is a luxury product and not much necessary to facilitate soon.”
This is how a former consultant of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) was delivering his misconception about 3G mobile technology to another official, four years ago.
However, the government has recently taken initiative to offer the service soon. In a meeting on August 9, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her willingness to offer the service as soon as possible.
The government has decided to issue 3G licences in the telecom sector through auction, and BTRC has moved to appoint to a consultant for this.
The analysts in the sector say 3G is a pure way to provide wireless broadband, which is called High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) in technical words. This is a mobile dedicated technology and can be obtained through smartphones, dangles or modems. There are hundreds of terminals or handsets and modems available worldwide.
“It [3G] is not Aladdin's lamp that will change the country overnight. Most of the internet users are getting the service through mobile handsets in Bangladesh. When 3G will come, it will just replace the previous service. The current service will survive as well,” said Abu Saeed Khan, secretary general of Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh.
The mobile operators have already developed their infrastructure across the country. Leading vendors are ready to provide equipment. The broadband service will be provided as soon as the operators get the licences, said Khan.
First the high-income areas will get the service and gradually it will be available in the remote areas like other technologies, he said.
According to the analysts, 3G will help develop the education sector, health care system, agriculture, and office works and so on. It is a mechanism of observing the service work from remote location by the policymakers that can immediately reduce any malpractices. The works can be monitored through live video and will save time and cost.