Costly 3G licences to hurt data business
Banglalink now looks forward to a 3G licence to fulfil its plan to strengthen its presence in the data or internet business in the country.
But it will be tough for the mobile operator to provide data services through 3G (third generation), if the government charges too much as up-front money for the licence, said Jo Lunder, chief executive officer of VimpelCom Ltd.
Orascom Telecom, the parent company of Banglalink, is a subsidiary of VimpelCom that is the world's sixth largest telecom group with more than 21.2 crore subscribers worldwide.
The government should take account of the prospect of 3G services in the country, he said.
If the government does not lower the up-front money, high quality 3G services will be costly and many people will fail to afford those, Lunder said.
He spoke at a press meet that was organised on the occasion of Lunder's visit to Bangladesh and to introduce Banglalink's new CEO, Ziad Shatara, at Sonargaon Hotel in the capital
Shatara with a vast experience in data business at Wind telecom in Italy will take charges of Banglalink in January, Lunder said.
An absence of local contents in Bangla is an opportunity for business in the country, he said, adding that his company will work to produce contents in Bangla engaging local developers.
Local content developers will not feel encouraged to bring new contents if a good broadband penetration does not exist, he said.
At the same time, internet penetration depends on affordability, Lunder said. â€œSo the government will have to decide on how it wants to facilitate its people."
Criticising the SIM tax in Bangladesh, the VimpelCom CEO said there are a very few countries in the world that charge so high as SIM tax. â€œIt is hindering the sector's growth.â€
â€œOur target is to provide state-of-the-art data services in Bangladesh,â€ said Ahmed Abou Doma, group executive vice president and head of the Asia-Africa business unit of VimpelCom.
There had been no CEO in Banglalink since May 2011 when Doma left the operator and joined Orascom as its group CEO.
On Banglalink's merger plans with Grameenphone, Lunder said there is no such plan. Doma said the telecom regulator will not allow such a merger of the market's two top operators.
â€œI have prioritised the development of the company and its employees as my primary goal,â€ said Banglalink's new CEO, Ziad Shatara, who has more than 17 years of regional and international experience.