Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL) is progressing with its previously-announced fixed-wireless LTE broadband network project after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Korean Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF), reports the Financial Express quoting a BTCL official. A cost figure for the wireless network (under the project heading ‘Installation of Wireless Broadband Network for Digital Bangladesh’) was reported at nearly BDT7.5 billion, or around USD95 million, with a target completion date of June 2017. Initial deployments are planned for the capital Dhaka plus remote areas such as Chittagong Hill Tracts where it is prohibitively difficult and expensive to extend wireline access networks. The unnamed BTCL official added that the state-owned telco is hopeful of receiving a new frequency allocation for the fixed-wireless broadband rollout ‘soon’.
TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported in May that Bangladesh’s Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved BTCL’s plans including rolling out a countrywide LTE-based wireless broadband network costing a total of BDT9.56 billion, aiming to provide low-cost broadband services for computer users in all seven divisions including rural areas by 2017, with a focus on areas where other operators are reluctant to launch. An application for 35MHz in the 2500MHz band for the fixed-wireless LTE project was reportedly pending, whilst it was noted that 64% of the LTE project funding is to come from the Export-Import Bank of Korea (under a 25-year loan) and the remainder from the Bangladeshi government. A total of 670 base transceiver stations (BTS) and 300km of fibre-optic cable are earmarked for the deployment.