Bangladesh’s sixth mobile network operator, Warid Telecom, launched operations today, aiming to grab a slice of one of the world’s fastest growing markets. Warid, owned by UAE’s Abu Dhabi Group, won a USD50 million GSM licence in December 2005. It is counting on five million subscribers in its first year of operation, company spokesman Zeeshan Kingshuk Huq told AFP. ‘We have launched operations today covering around 70% [of the] population of the country with more than 900 network base stations,’ he said, adding that another 200 stations would be added within the next week. ‘Bangladesh is one of the fastest growing markets in the world. And we hope we can grab a big share by offering better value added services, competitive tariffs and European standard network quality,’ he said. Huq claimed the company has so far invested USD300 million in its network and licensing costs and plans to invest a further USD500 million within the next three years. Bangladesh, with a population of around 144 million, has around 23 million mobile subscribers, up from less than four million at the end of 2004. The total is expected to cross 50 million by 2009 on the back of predicted strong economic growth.
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