Fixed line subscriptions recover slightly, according to regulator

28 Jan 2014

Fixed line telephony subscribers in Bangladesh increased modestly in 2013, according to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), which reports that the total PSTN lines stood at 1,158,296 at the end of December – the regulator’s first report on the fixed line market in a couple of years. The watchdog’s figures show that incumbent national telco Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL) had 961,589 fixed voice subscribers at 31 December 2013 – which TeleGeography notes is apparently an increase from BTCL’s reported total of ‘0.9 million’ at the end of its financial year (30 June 2013) – and certainly shows net growth from BTCL’s 935,760 lines it reported at end-June 2012.

BTCL has only one remaining effective competitor in the fixed line market, wireless in the local loop (WiLL)-based Ranks Telecom (RanksTel), which the BTRC said had 187,557 active subscriber lines at end-December 2013. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that RanksTel was one of five WiLL operators closed down in March 2010 for alleged involvement in illegal international VoIP call termination, at which date it had around 300,000 subscribers, and it was not until June 2012 that RanksTel finally relaunched its services after re-registering 20,000 former customers.

The third surviving fixed line provider, Banglaphone, has a small-scale local telephony base, reported by the BTRC at 5,450 at end-December 2013.

WorldTel is the fourth and final PSTN local telephony operator included on the BTRC’s list. TeleGeography notes that WorldTel was shut down by the regulator alongside RanksTel in March 2010 but had its licence returned in September 2011. Recently, local reports said WorldTel was either defunct or near-to-closing, but it reported a tiny fixed line user base of 3,700 at end-December 2013.

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