Two Bangladeshi GSM-based cellcos, Telenor subsidiary GrameenPhone (GP) and Warid Telecom Bangladesh (majority owned by Bharti Airtel), held a ceremony on 4 November 2010 to mark the signing of a bilateral infrastructure sharing agreement. Oddvar Hesjedal, CEO of GP, said: ‘We will see more sharing and more cooperation among the operators in the coming years because all of us have to cut the costs as far as possible. We are in a country with the lowest tariff[s] but we have the same price when it comes to buying equipment in an international market. I think we are on this journey here together and I look forward to many years of good cooperation.’ Chris Tobit, CEO of Warid, declared: ’By signing the infrastructure sharing deal with GP, we have moved one step forward in exploring areas of cooperation between the two global giants [Telenor and Airtel]. This deal will help serve our customers cost-effectively with wider coverage and greater capacity. It is a win-win deal for both the parties … This historic deal will help increase the country’s teledensity, which is very crucial for establishing a ‘Digital Bangladesh’ in line with the government vision.’
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, GP has signed a series of network sharing deals with rivals, including fellow GSM operators Banglalink and Axiata Bangladesh (Robi) in February 2010 and WiMAX wireless broadband provider BanglaLion the following April. Warid Bangladesh (soon to be Airtel) has also begun entering into infrastructure cooperation deals, signing an agreement for access to certain network elements with CDMA operator Citycell in April.