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One 3G network or multiple? LIRNEasia’s rapid response to a policy debate in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is considering the issuance of 3G frequencies (they should get the license renewal mess sorted; but that is another story). The question of establishing a single 3G network that multiple operators would jointly own and use has been floated by an important stakeholder, the CEO of Banglalink. This is a theoretically good, but practically bad, idea. So LIRNEasia explained why in Bangladesh’s premier English language daily, the Daily Star:

The operation of multiple 3G networks, owned and operated by different limited-liability companies, may be sub-optimal if seen solely from resource optimisation or planning perspective. But it is actually the most efficacious for the ground conditions in Bangladesh.

The different networks will be rolled out at different speeds, and be based on different geographical and service-quality priorities. Consumers will have real choices and things will get done with minimal dependence on high performance by the regulatory agency. We go back to a fundamental truth: the best solution depends on the fit with actual circumstances, not fealty to an abstract ideal.

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