Bangladeshi cellco Warid Telecom has revealed a plan to invest around USD250 million over the next twelve months to expand its GSM network coverage. The Abu Dhabi Group subsidiary launched commercial GSM/GPRS/EDGE services in May 2007 over a network covering 28 out of the country’s 64 districts, which it has since expanded to 61. Before launch, Warid earmarked initial network investment of USD300 million, with the aim of signing up six million users by mid-2009. At the end of March 2008 it had 2.79 million subscribers, putting it in fourth place in a market of six operators. However, volume of customers is not the company’s chief concern, according to CEO Muneer Farooqui, who said ‘We haven’t reached the optimum level in terms of subscriber acquisition…Our strategy is to go ahead with best quality network. So, we have no intention to have a huge number of subscribers if we fail to provide them best services.’ Farooqui added that the current tax on SIM cards – currently BDT800 (USD11.80) – introduced in 2004, was slowing the expansion of mobile services into rural areas, to a ‘tremendous’ extent.
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