Bangladeshi cellco Teletalk is reportedly in the midst of developing five projects worth BDT55.54 billion (USD656 million) to expand its networks, by deploying 6,800 new sites and upgrading around 5,500 existing sites. Shahab Uddin, managing director of the state-owned operator, told The Daily Star: ‘We are trying to improve our network and service quality with limited resources and at the same time are trying to manage funds from different sources to expand it.’ The company will invest BDT9.87 billion of its own funds to deploy 1,500 2G/3G towers in rural areas, with 1,100 4G sites to be deployed in district headquarters (550) and Dhaka (550). Mr Uddin said that the towers established in Dhaka will be commercially launched ‘soon’. Further, the government has provided the cellco with a loan of BDT6.75 billion for the rollout and upgrade of around 1,700 towers, though Teletalk is seeking a further BDT32.82 billion from the state to build 4,000 towers for 3G/4G network expansion. Here Shahab Uddin commented: ‘It would give us a boost if the government approves the project.’ Another programme will see the deployment of solar powered towers via an Indian credit of BDT4.25 billion, while the BDT1.84 billion from the social obligation fund will be used for network expansion in the country’s wetlands in north east Bangladesh (i.e. the haor areas). Meanwhile, LG U+ has offered Teletalk a commercial loan of USD1.2 billion for infrastructure development and improvement of its core network, on the condition that Teletalk ensures 4G coverage in 98% of Bangladesh’s geographical area via 11,275 LTE-enabled towers.
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