Bangladeshi mobile operators GrameenPhone, Robi Axiata and Banglalink are making progress in rolling out Wi-Fi hotspot services in collaboration with internet service providers (ISPs), reports the Dhaka Tribune. Regulator the BTRC stipulated that cellcos cannot currently offer public Wi-Fi services unless partnering ISPs. GrameenPhone confirmed that it has launched its ‘Blue Zone’ Wi-Fi service ‘on a test basis’ in partnership with IT Connect (iConnect) in parts of Dhaka, but its chief corporate affairs officer Mahmud Hossain told the Tribune that the operator is not prepared to launch full commercial services under the current regulatory conditions. Last week, Robi received approval for Wi-Fi tariffs form the BTRC, and Robi’s executive vice-president Mahmudur Rahman told the newspaper: ‘As we have received the approval, we will start our service very soon.’ Robi will also partner iConnect for the Wi-Fi launch. A senior official of Banglalink was quoted as saying: ‘We are also planning for Wi-Fi and already we have shortlisted two ISPs but they are not finalised yet.’ Meanwhile, on 16 June another ISP, Fiber Optic Network Solutions (FONS) Bangladesh received permission to launch its Wi-Fi service; Monirul Haque, senior manager of FONS, said that Wi-Fi hotspots would be rolled out in Dhaka and Chittagong, and that FONS was open to partnering any mobile operator.
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