WorldTel Bangladesh: where there’s a WiLL there’s a way…

28 Apr 2008

WorldTel Bangladesh Limited (WTBL), a company thought by many to be dead and buried, has announced that it will launch commercial fixed-wireless PSTN services in the capital ‘soon’, reports the New Nation. The news has a familiar ring to it, as WTBL was the city’s first private sector fixed line licensee in July 2001, but has repeatedly delayed its CDMA2000 1x WiLL network rollout plans, partly because of ownership disputes. The failure to launch prevented the advent of PSTN competition in Dhaka for several years, mainly because of legal cases surrounding the cancellation of WTBL’s exclusivity period granted in its original licence. In November 2006 WorldTel agreed an interconnection deal with incumbent BTTB, but after further delays it reportedly did not have its licence renewed in 2007. In August that year the government finally began accepting new applications for private companies to operate WiLL and wireline networks in Dhaka, and since then several have launched including Dhaka Phone and RanksTel.

Saif Ahmed, the project director of WTBL, told a press conference last week that: ‘We are getting prepared to start our operation soon, as managing director [of WTBL] Nayeem Mehtab Chowdhury was released from police custody on 7 April after being cleared by the court [on financial charges].’ According to Saif the company has to date invested around USD12.5 million in building a 100,000 line capacity WiLL network in Dhaka, 30% of which was from foreign investment.

Bangladesh,

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