Bangladesh’s second-largest cellco by subscribers, Banglalink, part of the Vimpelcom group, has revealed that it has chosen China’s Huawei Technologies as its main equipment supplier to deploy a 3G 2100MHz W-CDMA/HSPA+ network under a USD300 million 3G rollout budget following its win of one of the country’s five UMTS licences earlier this month. In an interview on Saturday with the Dhaka Tribune, Banglalink’s CEO Ziad Satara said that the HSPA+ network will be launched ‘within a very short period of time’, and the cellco plans to launch education campaigns about the new high speed mobile data services via channels including its Facebook online social networking community and regional roadshows. The CEO added that new user packages were in the pipeline for smartphones, tablets and laptops. Although the regulator has permitted the usage of 4G LTE technology via the new 2100MHz frequencies, Banglalink (which bought 2×5MHz of spectrum compared to cellular market leader GrameenPhone with 2×10MHz) confirmed that it had no current 4G intentions, as Satara stated: ‘As the regulator is planning to hold another auction for 700MHz band spectrum within a year or two, we can buy spectrum on that auction. The market is not ready for taking the LTE.’ The executive did not disclose an exact target 3G launch date; private sector rivals Robi Axiata and Airtel Bangladesh (both 2×5MHz winners) alongside GrameenPhone have all announced plans to launch commercial 2100MHz services in October.
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