Subscribers of the number one mobile operator can brace for improved network experience
Grameenphone is set to get 500 towers across the country from mobile infrastructure service provider edotco, much needed to support the leading mobile operator’s growing customer base and the demands on its network as for turbocharging of digitalisation for the coronavirus outbreak.
The country’s mobile operators were left with no new towers since October 2018 after the government separated the network business from telecom services with the view to rationalising the number of towers in the country and to give smaller operators a fair shot.
Since the awarding of tower licences to edotco Bangladesh, Summit Towers, Kirtonkhola Tower Bangladesh and AB Hightech Consortium, the mobile operators were forbidden from setting up any new towers. Maintenance and relocation of their existing towers were also forbidden.
The four companies were supposed to take over the towers from the mobile operators and also build new ones.
Save for edotco, none of the tower licence holders was able to start their operations within the deadline of May 1, 2019, meaning virtually no new towers were set up in the country in the past two years amidst a fast-growing demand -- leaving mobile operators in a limbo.
And then came the global coronavirus pandemic, which compelled people to do most of their activities over the internet and the phone, putting a tremendous strain on the operators’ limited networks.
As a result, call drops, slow internet speed and low signal bars became all too common in recent months.
Last month, Summit Towers handed over the first of the 259 towers it has agreed to provide Banglalink, the country’s number three carrier.
And now, edotco and Grameenphone have struck a deal.
“This is a positive start to the towerco regime in Bangladesh -- it was much needed for quality customer service,” said Jahurul Haque, chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.
With the 500 new towers, Grameenphone would be able to fill in the gaps and improve the customer experience, said Yasir Azman, its chief executive officer.
“edotco has a global reputation for its service quality, and so we are confident with our promise to deliver with a remarkable output, which will eventually feed the Digital Bangladesh dream,” said Ricky Steyn, its managing director.
Grameenphone currently has about 16,000 sites in number, of which 13,000 are 4G-enabled.
At the end of October, the carrier had 7.8 crore subscribers, which is 46.5 per cent of the market share, according to data from the BTRC.