GSMA, the global trade body representing the mobile industry, called on Bangladesh to issue 3G licences soon to make broadband services more widely available.
Licensing the 2100 MHz spectrum band for 3G services would enable Bangladeshi operators to launch mobile broadband services, which their customers can use to gain fast and easy access to the Internet and online services, it said on Wednesday.
Bangladesh’s mobile sector has grown rapidly, with user numbers reaching more than 45 million at end-September from 200,000 in 2001, while the country has only 1.32 million fixed-line phones.
“Laying new fixed-line connections is expensive and inefficient, so high-speed mobile networks are Bangladesh’s best bet to realise the many social and economic benefits that arise from widespread access to broadband services,” said Ricardo Tavares, senior vice president for public policy at the GSMA.
Analysts predict the number of subscribers could top 70 million by 2011, nearly half the country’s population of more than 140 million people.
Many developing countries, including Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Kenya and South Africa, have already deployed mobile broadband services enabling their people to get easy access to information on health, education, job opportunities and agriculture.
There are six cellphone carriers in Bangladesh, including five foreign operators.
Read the full story in Reuters here.