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Telecommunication Business in Bangladesh
The telecommunications sector in Bangladesh is characterized by very low tele-density, inefficiency, and under-capitalization. BTTB did not have sufficient interconnection capacity to meet the demands of the mobile service providers. Historically, the state-owned BTTB has been the monopoly telephone service provider.
In a bid to improve the efficiency and ability of the BTTB, Bangladesh initiated a restructuring program in the telecom sector to corporatism BTTB. This plan is yet to materialize because of resistance from the BTTB employees.
However, the government allowed private sector participation in the mainline sector by awarding mainline telecom licenses to two private operators in 1989 (Bangladesh Rural Telecom Authority (BRTA) and Sheba Telecom Pvt. Ltd. The advent of mobile phone technology has given a unique opportunity for countries to have an alternative source for telecom service. The relatively lower start-up costs, easy accessibility, and suitability of any geographic location for a mobile network helped mobile telephony to become popular quickly.
Bangladesh is the pioneer among LDCs, opening its mobile phone sector for private and foreign investment in 1989. Pacific Telecom launched the country's first mobile phone service. Subsequently, three more mobile phone licenses were issued, in 1996, 2004 and 2005.
The opening up of the mobile phone sector by Bangladesh was done independently, not as part of an international agreement. Liberalization of trade and investment independently, without any binding from any international agreements, is known as Unilateral-Liberalization.
The telecommunication sector of Bangladesh has changed dramatically within 2 years. The incentives both from government and private sectors have helped to grow this sector. In Bangladesh telecommunication sector are basically divided into two parts & these are- 1. Public Sector
2. Private Sector.
• Public sector
Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone (T&T) Department was created under the Ministry of Posts & Telecommunications after the independence of Bangladesh in 1971 to run the telecommunication services on a commercial basis. In 1976 Bangladesh T&T Department was converted into a corporate body. Today 'BTTB' provides land-line telephone services in the urban areas, domestic long-distance and international services. Though the Bangladesh government has given out nationwide PSTN licenses the lucrative Dhaka market (which account for majority of the nationwide market) is still under the monopoly of BTTB. In 2004 BTTB forayed in to the mobile telephony market of Bangladesh by launching a subsidiary company called Teletalk. BTTB provides dial-up Internet access in all 64 districts of the country, making it the most-accessible Internet service provider in the country. It also handles the .bd domain. Of the public-sector outlay for communications totaling Tk.23, 784 million (USD 1 = Tk. 40), 91% has been earmarked for the BTTB. The financial outlay would be used to install and expand digital exchanges, install national and international trunk lines, innovative programmers like data communication network and information technology. As of January 2008 total subscriber of BTTB was 0.872 million. • Private sector
The Government has opened the telecommunications market to the private sector. The Government acknowledges the private sector's increasing resolve and ability to meet the growth demands of the country, as well as the fact that the private sector now becomes a much stronger force in telecommunications development. The Government will provide all assistance to make the private sector more vibrant and robust in keeping with their anticipated role in the coming years.
There are 5 private mobile phone operators in Bangladesh. These are:...
References: 5. 2008, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission
7.International Telecommunication Union
8.The Daily Star , Thursday, March 20, 2008
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