Dhaka Phone comes home, National Telecom joins capital licensees

24 Sep 2007

At the weekend, Dhaka Phone became the first privately owned company to launch PSTN services in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, breaking the fixed line monopoly in the city of national PTO Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB). Dhaka Phone, which launched its fixed-wireless services in Chittagong and Sylhet in July 2006, is looking to sign up 25,000 WiLL subscribers in Dhaka in the next three months. It claims to have invested USD30 million to date, and plans to spend another USD12 million in the next six months. Telephony and internet access will be initially available in the following areas of the city: Uttara, Banani, Gulshan, Mohakhali, Tongi, Mirpur, Dhaka Cantonment, Tejgaon, Saidabad, Matuail, Keraniganj and Zinzira areas, and Dhaka Phone hopes to make services available to all areas in a month. The newcomer’s CDMA-based network has been built with equipment supplied by Huawei, Nokia-Siemens and Alcatel-Lucent. Residents of Dhaka have waited a number of years for an alternative fixed line telco, and should soon have a multiple choice, as two other operators – RanksTel and Square Informatix – won licenses for Dhaka alongside Dhaka Phone in August.

A fourth private company, regional WiLL operator National TeleCom (NationalPhone) also received a licence to operate in Dhaka at the weekend. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, NationalPhone was established in June 2004 following the splitting of WiLL operator Bangladesh Rural Telecoms Authority (BRTA) the previous December. It rolled out CDMA2000 1x WiLL services in the first quarter of 2007 in partnership with Huawei, and has built an IP-based core network with CDMA softswitch technology and an NGN fibre-optic backbone.

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