11 Oct 2013
Banglalink, Bangladesh’s second largest mobile operator by active users, has launched commercial 3G services over its new W-CDMA/HSPA+ network for pre- and post-paid customers, with initial coverage limited to certain areas of the capital Dhaka and Chittagong. On the new 3G section of its website, Banglalink advertises video calls (initially on-net only), charged at BDT0.5 (USD0.00633) per ten seconds, plus nine new data packages aimed at users of 3G-enabled feature phones, smartphones and USB dongle modems. Packages targeting smartphone users range from ‘Surfer’ allowing 500MB (15-day validity) data usage for BDT250 (USD3.17), up to ‘Crazy downloader’ with a 5GB limit (30-day validity) for BDT950. The cheapest data package, aimed at feature phone users, is ‘Player’ (BDT30 for 50MB with five days validity), while the ‘Mega downloader’ package for dongle users offers 10GB for BDT1,600 (valid for 30 days). Under a limited duration promotion, Banglalink is also offering bonus data volumes of 350MB, 1GB or 3GB on selected packages. Existing 2G data subscribers on certain packages can also use Banglalink’s 3G mobile internet services on compatible devices. A special offer on purchasing a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 device in monthly instalments is also advertised.
Initial 3G network coverage is listed as: Dhaka (restricted to Gulshan, Banani, Banani Dohs, Baridhara and Motijheel) and the Agrabad commercial area of Chittagong. Banglalink, a subsidiary of Global Telecom Holding (formerly Orascom Telecom Holding), itself a division of Vimpelcom, previously announced that its commercial 3G network will reach Sylhet and Khulna by December, by which date the whole of the Dhaka metropolitan area is scheduled to be covered. At launch, CEO Ziad Shatara declared that the company was ready to ‘reach every common Bangladeshi’ with 3G services.
Elsewhere, fourth-largest cellco Airtel Bangladesh has begun a 3G service trial in Chittagong, in advance of its commercial 3G tariffs receiving regulatory approval, while its trial service will also be made available in parts of Dhaka and Sylhet shortly. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Bangladeshi mobile market leader GrameenPhone launched commercial 3G services earlier this month, while third-placed cellular operator Robi Axiata has switched on 3G services on a pre-commercial basis in selected locations, and has already received approval for its commercial 3G packages from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).