WiMAX Plaza in Ctg

http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=140887, Published On: 2010-06-01

Banglalion Communications Limited, a high speed WiMAX internet service provider, opened their customer care, sales and service centre at city’s Agrabad area yesterday. Banglalion WiMAX Director (Communication) and Chief Brand Officer Shafiul Haque Chowdhury inaugurated the centre “Banglalion WiMAX Plaza” at 1768, Sheikh Mujib Road through a ceremony. Shafiul said sales, service, customer care, billing and other necessary services will be provided from the centre for customers of WiMAX internet. The company already expanded their services to different places of the port city including Agrabad, Nasirabad, Khulshi, Sugondha, Panchlaish, GEC, Lalkhan Bazar and Anderkilla after launching the service two months ago, Shafiqul said adding that some other areas including Chandgaon, Halishahar and Chawk Bazar will be brought under the coverage by June.


WiMAX launched in Ctg

URL: http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=129907, Saturday, March 13, 2010

Banglalion Communications Ltd yesterday formally launched its WiMAX internet service in the port city with a commitment to help improve daily life and speed up industrial activities.

Banglalion Chairman Abdul Mannan made the announcement at a press conference at Chittagong Press Club.

Banglalion is introducing wireless internet facilities with a view to establishing an IT-based society through developing network, marketing equipment within purchase capacity and promoting the living standard, he said.

He observed that investment in this sector is now less than 1 percent of the income of any firm while it ranges from 6 to 8 percent in the developed countries.

It is because of the users’ lack of confidence in service providers and internet speeds that can hardly be generated with the technology available in the country, said Mannan adding that Banglalion would overcome the speed problem.

As the first WiMAX Internet service provider here Banglalion would meet the total demand of speedy wireless internet in Chittagong.

With increasing demand the telecom companies would be increasing investment in this sector by 50 percent spending two-third (of the increased investment) in wireless-exchange of information, equipment and infrastructure development within the next three years, informed WiMAX chairman.

Speedy internet use would increase to 10 percent from existing 4 percent in the next two years, he hoped.

Banglalion Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Khaled Shams and Chief Brand Officer Aftab Mahmood Khurshid also spoke at the press conference.


Make WiMax accessible: Qubee CEO Jerry Mobs shares his experience

Make WiMax accessible

Qubee CEO Jerry Mobs shares his experience

Nafid Imran Ahmed

Qubee, the first WiMax service provider in the country, is in operations for nine months now, and it is already making noise in the market.

Recently Jerry Mobs, the company’s chief executive, spoke to The Daily Star and shared his experiences.

According to Jerry, one of the main issues that affect the whole industry is the extremely high price of the International Internet Gateway (IIG) connectivity, which is about two and a half times regional averages, such as Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka.

“If you compare Bangladesh to those nations, you will find that it’s very expensive. And that cost is bourne not only by Qubee, but also by others, such as Banglalion, GP and all other ISP’s in the market. This is preventing the growth of services in Bangladesh.”

“You may be able to get the customer but to connect them to the rest of the world, that’s when it gets really expensive and 98 percent of my traffic goes out of the country — that has to go through the international gateway.”

The price for 1Mbps in equivalent South Asian countries is around about $70 — it is currently Tk 18,000 for the same in Bangladesh, he said.

That is the price all the internet service providers (ISP) pay, not just Qubee, which is the single biggest cost element in retarding their growth, the CEO said.

Jerry mentioned that they brought up the topic with Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and they responded positively. BTRC knows the issues and will have to look at all the stakeholders, as there are government revenues involved, he added.

“I have a feeling they understand the situation and are looking to achieve a sensible way forward that benefits all parties. It has to be a win-win deal. I have faith in the regulator that they will do a good job and everyone will be happy.”

Jerry believes the market potential is huge and growing all the time. “Cellular operators have almost 5 million people using the internet on the small screen and there are half a million to three quarters of a million connected at home. We are still looking to cover that market.”

“We’ve gone through our launch phase. Now we cover most main areas of Dhaka. We’ve got 8,500 subscribers on our network today and we are the fastest growing ISP, in terms of bandwidth — we know that talking to Mango TeleServices and BTCL and probably number two or three in terms of single largest bandwidth customer,” he informed.

Since inception, Qubee learnt a lot about the market and optimised a lot of the network; and they have about 50 base transceiver stations (BTS) today. By mid June, they plan to increase that number to 120 throughout Dhaka.

“We have a couple of new projects coming up in June-July. There is a lot of work going on, primarily based around mobile devices, allowing people to move around the network and access a WiMax 4G network throughout Dhaka,” said Jerry.

On built-in WiMax modem enabled laptops, Jerry said the industry is working on it at the moment. The main focus now is to provide WiMax to as many potential users as possible, whether on a desktop or laptop, the CEO added.

“Our primary objective in the short term is to cover everybody and give them a chance to use high speed reliable internet services. We want to offer the ability to move around with dongle type devices, which is what our network will be able to support in June. I think around Q3 this year, embedded devices, such as bundled laptops with in-built WiMax devices, should start to happen,” he said.

When asked if the company is on target, Jerry said they are a bit behind at the moment. “We are adding about 100 customers a day. Around about 30 percent of those are referrals from people who’ve used our services for a month or two.”

“I think we delivered in general on our brand promise, which is a good internet experience, a service that never sleeps and speed in happiness.”

On existing ISPs with wireless spectrums, he said: “When we invested in Bangladesh, we knew the process was pretty clear and that existing ISPs that already have the rights to use their spectrum, would continue. We don’t see that as a big issue.”

“If people start to pull their spectrum to create larger groups of spectrum, and if they could offer similar services that creates another competitor with a large chunk of spectrum without benefits to the government by not having to pay a licence fee, to me that is wrong and we would object.”

“I don’t think that is going to happen. The regulator here has operated within the rules and the rules of the auction are pretty clear.”

On rolling out 3G, Jerry said he sees it as a complementary service, and doesn’t see his company competing with the cellular operators.

“WiMax is a 4G technology, so having experienced 3G around the world and WiMax, I have seen both sides of the performance. And WiMax is better than 3G.”

3G is a great complementary technology, which will help grow the market and internet penetration, he said. But people still need to have much higher bandwidth for their desktops and laptops, and WiMax can deliver that, he added.

“3G is great for small screens but when you plug it in on a desktop and want to play massive multiplayer online games or upload photographs, WiMax is a better technology.”


Mobiles reign in households

Source: http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=140306, Published on 28 May, 2010.

Mobile phone has become a major communication device at family levels, covering around half of all families in Bangladesh, says a study of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. Mobile phone is seemed as a great tool of building Digital Bangladesh.

A Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) survey also shows that mobile usage at household levels mainly began rising in 2005. It also means that a stiff price war that began in the same year mainly contributed to dispersing the technology.

According to the survey, 48.3 percent households owned mobile phones at the end of 2009, whereas there were 2.2 percent land phone users at household levels. In 2005, only 10 percent households were covered by mobile phones, says the survey. According to the last census by BBS held in 2001, the total number of households was 25.4 million.

The Welfare Monitoring Survey (WMS) covered as many as 14,000 households for the country as a whole as sample size. Under the preview, there were 8,400 rural households and 5,600 urban households.

The mobile technology was introduced in Bangladesh in 1993. The device gradually became popular among users when the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) was launched in 1997. However, the high price of the technology kept it away from the general public until 2005.

Industry insiders said the revolutionary entry of the mobile technology at household levels mainly happened because of the countrywide coverage and availability of the technology.

“I came here to buy a mobile connection because it is near my house,” said Mahbuba Haque, who was standing at a small shop near Maghbazar intersection. Mahbuba said she bought the mobile for home use. She said she is more comfortable in using her mobile to communicate with people. The different value added services also attract her to use mobiles. Citing an example, she said, through a mobile conference call, I can talk to several relatives at a time, which is truly a nice way of social communication.

Voice communication through mobile telephony started with CDMA (code division multiple access), which was introduced by Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Ltd — the owning company of Citycell — in 1993.

The expensive communication device started to become handy after the introduction of GSM by Grameenphone and Robi (then known as AKTEL) in 1997.

Banglalink and state-run TeleTalk launched their services in 2005 and Warid came in 2007.

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) data shows that the number of customers under the mobile networks reached 52.43 million at the end of 2009. As of April 2010, the number of mobile users was 56.43 million, according to BTRC.

On the other hand, only 1.03 million customers were tagged with landline telecom services at the end of April 2010.

Oddvar Hesjedal, chief executive officer of Grameenphone, said: “The mobile communication will be a major driver to achieve a Digital Bangladesh. It took 15 years to reach the first 50 million customers; I feel that in the right business environment, the next 50 million subscribers will happen much faster,” he said.

However, a real hurdle to such development is the SIM tax, which makes new connections more expensive, he said.

“The mobile technology has brought about a revolution here,” said Zakiul Islam, president of Association of Mobile Telecommunications Operators of Bangladesh.

“If some tax structures are eased, the market will grow further,” he said.


ToT began on how to run UISC

Source: A2I, http://digitalbangladesh.gov.bd

Government has a plan to set up 1000 Union Information and Service Centre (UISC) across the country by June 2010. Skill development for the entrepreneurs is prerequisite for UISC.

With this in mind, a training of trainers (ToT) on how to run a Tele-centre began at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on May 08, 2010. UNDP supported Access to Information (a2i) Programme, National Institute of Local Government (NILG) and Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) jointly organized the training event.

Mahfuzur Rahman, Executive Director of Bangladesh Computer Council inaugurated the event as the chief guest. The National Project Director of Access to Information (a2i), Md. Nazrul Islam Khan was in the chair.

In addition to 100 existing UISCs, NILG will set up 900 more UISCs across the country by June 2010. The trainees will provide training to the entrepreneurs who will run the UISC afterwards. The training program is designed to building the capacity of entrepreneurs so that they can provide service to rural people efficiently.

120 participants divided into four batches from Bangladesh Computer Council are attending the training program. Each batch will be provided a four day long training on Information and Communication Technology and e-services.