Norwegian telecom giant Telenor owned Grameenphone on Sunday kicked off 3G (third generation) services in Bangladesh.
Grameenphone is not the first telecom operator to start 3G.
State-owned mobile operator Teletalk last year launched a 3G service on a test basis.
Robi has already launched experimental 3G services in Dhaka and Chittagong.
The country’s second-largest telecom operator, Banglalink, earlier said it would launch its 3G service from Oct in line with other telecom operators.
Bangladesh telecom regulator BTRC has offered stringent 3G roll out conditions for telecom service providers. For instance, operators failing to launch the service within nine months of getting the license will be fined Tk 500,000,000.
Grameenphone is aiming for national coverage by next April.
Grameenphone CEO Vivek Sood said 3G will start in Dhaka and Chittagong within October and all the 68 districts will receive it within this year or at the start of the next year.
The Bangladesh operator has 44 percent of the market. 3G will assist Grameenphone to improve market share.
Last month, Grameenphone said it paid $210 million for 10 megahertz of 3G spectrum in September.
3G services will be available at cost effective tariff packages.
Post and Telecommunications Minister Sahara Khatun officially inaugurated its 3G services from Grameenphone’s headquarters GP House on Sunday.
There are some 107 mobile phone users among Bangladesh’s population of over 160 million but it lacks internet services, with barely 36,000 subscribers by either mobile or fixed lines.
Grameenphone’s rival include Orascom Telecom’s Banglalink, Robi, a joint venture between Malaysia’s Axiata Group and Japan’s NTT Docomo and Airtel. Each of them paid $105 million for 5 megahertz of spectrum in an auction.
On 9 September, Grameenphone said it would offer 3G coverage in selected areas of Dhaka City and Chittagong by October, while 7 divisional cities will come under coverage by December this year. Dhaka City, Narayangonj and Gazipur will be covered by November.
The company will introduce affordable 3G packages to meet the demand of its different customer segments.
Grameenphone acquired 10 MHz of 3G-spectrum in an auction arranged by BTRC, more than any of the participating competitors. The spectrum, which is part of the 2100 MHz-band, will enable the roll out of a nationwide 3G-network with enhanced capacity and instant mobile internet access for all customers.
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