Wait for WorldTel launch finally over?

9 Oct 2006

Dhaka-based start-up telco WorldTel announced on Saturday that it will launch fixed line telephony services to around 100,000 customers in the capital city next month, ahead of a second phase in which it will roll out a further 200,000 connections. WorldTel plans to provide a full range of telecoms services via wireless in the local loop (WiLL) technology. ‘We have completed the construction of our network covering Dhaka,’ Nayeem Chowdhury, CEO of WorldTel, said in a statement, adding that: ‘this technology is cost-effective and it will keep the city people free from hazards like digging of roads, usually seen in Dhaka, for land phone connectivity.’

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database notes that WorldTel is licensed to provide fixed line services in Bangladesh’s central metropolitan telecommunications zone which covers Dhaka city, Zinjira, Savar, Narayanganj, Gazipur and Tongi. The zone accounts for around 60% of the country’s telecoms demands, according to the regulator the BTRC, but despite holding its concession since 2001, WorldTel has repeatedly delayed its rollout plans. Its launch looked to be imminent in April 2005 when it signed an agreement with ZTE to install a CDMA-based WiLL network with a 200,000 user capacity. The firm said it would launch limited mobility PSTN services by October 2005, but has since deferred its commercial launch several times, pushing the date back to December 2005, then the following March, and most recently June 2006. It blamed the delays on its failure to gain permission for microwave frequency to interconnect its backbone network with other operators. In March 2006 WorldTel claimed that the BTRC had only issued the microwave frequency in late 2005, so it was still in the process of building out and testing the infrastructure. For its first rollout phase WorldTel has announced a total budget of USD150 million. WorldTel Bangladesh is 99.43% owned by British Virgin Islands-based World Communications Investment Inc with the remaining 0.47% owned by WorldTel Bangladesh Holding.

Bangladesh,

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