Bangladesh has entered an era of digital connectivity as three mobile phone operators rolled out the 4G mobile phone services in the country on Monday evening.
They launched the 4G services in Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna and Sylhet cities soon after getting the licences from Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).
BTRC Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood officially handed over the licences to the chief executive officers of four mobile phone operators - Grameenphone, Robi, Banglalink and Teletalk -- at a function organised by the BTRC and Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB) at Dhaka Club.
The operators also received the tech neutrality and radio communication apparatus licences at the function.
A message from ICT Adviser to the Prime Minister Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed Joy was read out by BTRC Director General (Spectrum) Brig Gen Nasim Parvez.
The mobile phone companies will launch the high-speed internet services in other major cities and towns gradually.
Terming the launching of the 4G services a milestone for the country, Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Mustafa Jabbar said the government's services will now reach people's doorsteps through mobile phones more easily.
Urging the mobile phone operators to improve their services so that people can be benefited with the 4G services, he directed the BTRC to look into whether charging Tk110 for the 4G SIM replacement is logical.
The BTRC chairman described the launching of 4G services a groundbreaking step, saying the internet speed will get a big boost.
Earlier on February 13, BTRC held the 4G spectrum auction for allocating new frequencies to mobile operators. The government earned Tk5,268.51 crore in revenue.
Banglalink took 10.6 MHz spectrum from different two bands – 2100 and 1800, with a price of Tk2,558 crore while Grameenphone took 5MHz from 1800 band with a price of Tk1,284 crore.
Robi did not buy any spectrum as it and Airtel have merged into one operator while Teletalk has already enough spectrum to launch the 4G services.
The government also earned another Tk850.4 crore as tech neutrality fees from three operators: GP, Banglalink and Robi, and VAT of total Tk5,289.08 crore.
Teletalk, Citycell, Banglalink, Grameenphone and Robi participated in the auction. Citycell was not allowed as it had lost the operator licence.