Bangladeshi cellco Banglalink’s parent Vimpelcom will invest around USD350 million in the next two years on 3G network development, the Russian/Norwegian-backed group’s CEO Jo Lunder said yesterday. Lunder told Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star: ‘We want to take a leading role for developing an ecosystem for the telecom sector in the country. So we are committed to investing here’, while the new investment will ensure better services, he added. Amsterdam-headquartered Vimpelcom, which owns Banglalink via majority-held Egyptian subsidiary Global Telecom Holding (formerly Orascom Telecom Holding), has invested around USD600 million in Banglalink since 2011 when it entered the ownership. Having acquired a 2×5MHz 2100MHz band 3G licence for USD105 million in September 2013, and launching 3G services the following month, Banglalink’s CEO Ziad Shatara said that it has so far ‘got a good response’ from 3G customers, while the firm has deployed 3G networks in all of Bangladesh’s seven divisional cities and plans to bring all 64 districts under 3G coverage by this June.
Banglalink currently advertises 3G services in six of the seven divisional capitals – Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Sylhet, Rajshahi and Barisal (with the seventh, the northern city of Rangpur, currently absent from the list), while it also serves Gazipur, a city in central Bangladesh in the Dhaka division. This week, Banglalink announced the expansion of the commercial 2100MHz network to another city in the Dhaka division, Narayanganj.