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Category Archives: Bangladesh

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SEA-ME-WE 5 to improve Bangladesh connectivity; Because of Myanmar, will cost USD 10m less

The government of Bangladesh will spend USD 72.5 million on SEA-ME-WE 5, on which construction commenced this month. “As Myanmar has become a member of the consortium we are paying $10 million less for the branch cable,” Hossain said. So far 12 countries have confirmed their membership with the consortium, while three other entities may […]

Bangladesh makes first appearance in AT Kearney ranking; Sri Lanka moves up five places; India remains at number one

In May 2007, I made a presentation to high-level committee appointed by the government of Bangladesh to recommend reforms to the way international telecom traffic was handled. I neglected to spell out what BPO stood for. “What is BPO” was the question from the audience. Seven years later, Bangladesh is ranked 26th in the AT […]

Bangladesh to tax the mobile industry (again)

It started with the infamous “SIM tax” in 2005. Although mobile covers nearly 100% of population and geography, a highly ambiguous Social Obligation Fund (SOF) was created in 2010. Consequently the telecom regulator has been illegally amassing huge wealth since 2011. Now the tax authorities have decided to impose 1% surcharge on mobile usage to […]

Third year of dark ages in Digital Bangladesh

Running telecoms transmission business is not the small and medium enterprises’ cup of tea. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) denies this universal truth, as it revised the infrastructure sharing guidelines on July 7, 2011. It mandates a middleman, dubbed as Nationwide Telecommunication Transmission Network (NTTN), between the legacy owners of fiber networks and their customers. […]

Why big data?

Every time I hear people agonizing over the possible ill effects of big data, I think of Dhaka, a city that is being choked by traffic. We all know that the solutions to transport management are among the most difficult to implement. We know that, in fact, there are no perfect solutions. Public transport is […]

Catalyzing the conversation on treating customers better in Bangladesh

We were pleased to receive front-page coverage for our dissemination event in the business section of the leading English language newspaper in Bangladesh. The Chairman of the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission, Mr A.R. Khan, was the chief guest and participated in the entirety of the event, which stretched over four hours. In the concluding discussion, […]

Chairman: BTRC lacks capacity to publish indicators

National Telecom Policy of 1998 still governs Bangladesh. It has prompted the Telecom Reporters’ Network Bangladesh (TRNB) to organize a round table discussion titled “Revision of Telecom Policy” yesterday. Rohan Samarajiva was the keynote speaker in this event. Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Abdul Latif Siddique and BTRC chairman Sunil Kanti Bose along with […]

LK TRC dumps MNP while BTRC sticks to it

Prepaid has diminished the appeal of Mobile Number Portability (MNP). A recent study of GSMA suggests that merely 25% of developing markets have introduced MNP, while only a further 15% are known to be implementing it in the future. It means about 60% of regulators in the developing world have either decided against introducing MNP, […]

Spy outfit wants a slice of USF pie in Bangladesh

Despite opposition from ITU, the industry and the lawmakers, Bangladeshi bureaucrats have succeeded to stage a legislative coupe for amending the telecoms law in 2010. As a result, whatever little authority Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) had been enjoying was hijacked by the telecoms ministry. Regulatory environment of Bangladesh went back to the Stone Age. A […]

Terrestrial links keeping Internet alive in Bangladesh

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A submarine cable snaps in every three days while a terrestrial cable gets severed in every 30 minutes somewhere in the world. The global economy counts annual loss of US$26.5 billion due to such disruptions, estimates Ciena. Therefore, route-diversity is the fundamental prerequisite of uninterrupted Internet. Early last year we reported the activation of cross-border […]

BTRC trespasses into central bank’s turf

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has been dictating the termination rate of international voice traffic. This foolish act has made bypass pervasive and unstoppable. Now BTRC has trespassed into the central bank’s domain to dictate the fees of mobile banking transactions. Even the central bank doesn’t dictate the costs of mobile banking transactions. The telecom regulator […]

Network sharing: Israel, India and Bangladesh

Fierce competition has prompted the operators in Israel to jointly build 4G networks, according to Reuters: Under the deal, the three operators will cooperate in obtaining frequencies for the 4G network, which will be built and operated by a newly created entity equally owned by Cellcom and Pelephone. Each operator will be required to purchase […]

Nil value to Sing Tel’s Bangladesh investment

Under Sri Lanka’s law, if an operator goes out of business, the Director General of Telecom has to run it. This used to be one of my nightmares. I knew how to regulate, but did I know how to run a company? The Daily Star paints a grim picture of Citycell, a Bangladesh CDMA licensee. […]

Economist compares mobile broadband prices: Bangladesh does poorly

These comparisons are, of course, problematic. But still engaging especially in the context of the launch of the Alliance for an Affordable Internet. Thailand yields no data. And I assume they work off advertised speeds rather than real . The Economist provides a nice interactive map. Sri Lanka appears to do best (USD 6.6) among […]

The tale of TeleTalk

October 14 will be the first anniversary of launching 3G by TeleTalk in Bangladesh. The state-owned mobile outfit wasn’t required to pay anything for license or spectrum at that time. Authorities said that TeleTalk would pay exactly the same amount the private operators pay once the 3G auction is over. Now TeleTalk is to match […]

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