Internet through mobile networks in Bangladesh

Posted on November 25, 2006  /  10 Comments

A story worth checking out.

Have the Bangladesh mobile operators solved the problems of providing reliable and cost-effective Internet connections over GSM networks?

Internet Extends Reach Of Bangladeshi Villagers –

Villages in one of the world’s poorest countries, long isolated by distance and deprivation, are getting their first Internet access, all connected over cellphones. And in the process, millions of people who have no land-line telephones, and often lack electricity and running water, in recent months have gained access to services considered basic in richer countries: weather reports, e-mail, even a doctor’s second opinion.Cellphones have become a new bridge across the digital divide between the world’s rich and poor, as innovators use the explosive growth of cellphone networks to connect people to the Internet.

Bangladesh now has about 16 million cellphone subscribers — and 2 million new users each month — compared with just 1 million land-line phones to serve a population of nearly 150 million people.

Since February, Internet centers have opened in well over 100 Bangladeshi villages, and a total of 500 are scheduled to be open by the end of the year. All of them are in places where there are no land lines and the connections will be made exclusively over cellphone networks.

Before February, analysts said, only 370,000 Bangladeshis had access to the Internet. But now millions of villagers have access to information and services that had been available only by walking or taking long and expensive bus rides, or were beyond their reach altogether.

People now download job applications and music, see school exam results, check news and crop prices, make inexpensive Internet phone calls or use Web cameras to see relatives. Students from villages with few books now have access to online dictionaries and encyclopedias.


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  2. good start but still not enough. Bangladesh is still a NO-BROADBAND country with 33.6kbps home user speed. Grameen Phone network supports 4 timeslot EDGE with 216kbps theoretical speed, real world speeds are approx 30~100 kbps. they skipped more practical HSDPA/W-CDMA. Bangladesh ranks 118th in Networked Readiness Index 2006–2007 rankings with no significant improvement in near future.

  3. why are our internet so slow?

  4. Because your government has not allowed enough suppliers of broadband to enter the market is the short answer. The long answer includes problems with access to undersea cables, within the country backhaul, etc.

  5. how we can create a good broadband market?

  6. Try this:

    Chanuka made a submission to the BTRC broadband inquiry that he will post shortly on this site.

  7. Chanuka Wattegama

    See here

    Not the ideal place, but till we get the Rapid Responses page arranged.

  8. @Chanuka Wattegama

    The report is very outdated because the private IIG operator sells bandwidth at 1/3th the price as the report states.

  9. Amar,

    Thanks for pointing out. Yes, things change faster than we think. We have already observed it happening in Bangladesh. With the entry of new BWA licensees, broadband prices are sure to drop further.

    What we still do not know for sure is the performance ratings. I will have an answer for that by the end of this month.

  10. @ Chanuka Wattegama

    Your welcome. Yeah, its hard to track the QoS of the South Asian providers. Would love to see the various Asian regions’ broadband/Bandwidth prices from lirneasia in the future.