Banglalink, a telecom operator in Bangladesh, will invest around $350 million as Capex in the next two years to build the 3G network.
Main mobile services competitors of Banglalink include Grameenphone, owned by Telenor, Airtel Bangladesh, Robi Axiata, etc. According to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, Banglalink has around 2.90 crore subscribers as of February 2014, with around 25 percent share in the six-operator mobile market.
“We want to take a leading role for developing an ecosystem for the telecom sector in the country. So we are committed to investing here,” Jo Lunder, chief executive of VimpelCom, a Russian phone carrier, told The Daily Star.
On 6 March, VimpelCom, the majority shareholder of Banglalink, said its Capex (capital spending) touched $4.2 billion in 2013. The main investments were for rolling out mobile networks in Russia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the CIS.
Also read: Vimpelcom Capex reaches $4.2 billion in 2013
VimpelCom invested around $600 million in Banglalink since 2011 when it acquired a majority stake in Orascom Telecom.
Banglalink, fully owned by Cairo-based Global Telecom Holding where VimpelCom has a 51.7 percent stake, acquired 5 MHz of spectrum investing $105 million last year.
Banglalink CEO Ziad Shatara said the telecoms completed setting up 3G network in all the divisional cities. The telecom operator is planning to bring all the districts under 3G coverage by June, Shatara said.
3G market in Bangladesh is seeing tough competition with Grameenphone and Airtel announcing their strategies.
In November 2013, Airtel Bangladesh launched its 3G services at Dhaka and Chittagong in Bangladesh. Airtel 3G data packs are priced at BDT 15 for 15 MB. Video calls between Airtel to Airtel users will be BDT 1/minute.
In October 2013, Grameenphone started offering 3G services in the central parts of Dhaka city. The Telenor subsidiary was planning to offer 3G in the country’s 64 regional cities by end of first quarter of 2014. Grameenphone has 44 million customers in Bangladesh. The launch of commercial 3G services follows the recent acquisition of 10 MHz spectrum in the 2100 MHz-band.