BANGLADESH CELLPHONE GROWTH
Although Bangladesh economy was slowed by the increase of terrorist attacks, Telecom sector is the one field Bangladesh could achieve high growth in 2005. The number of mobile phone users in Bangladesh grew by 144 per cent in 2005, to 9.4 million in December from 3.85 million in 2004 (source). Five operators (GrameenPhone, AKTEL, Banglalink, Citycell and the government owned Teletalk) are competing neck-a-neck with increasing coverage and down-to-earth prices (USD$4 a SIM card). The die-hard competition started when Egyptian telecom firm Orascom(Banglalink) started operation just a year ago. It has already become the third company to cross the million subscriber mark and extended network coverage upto 88% of the country. UAE's Warid telecom is soon entering Bangladesh market as the sixth operator depositing license fee of US$ 50 million and $3 million as bank guarantee fees. Naturally they will face tough competition from the word go. However all these competition are likely to lower down the still high call rates, which will benefit the consumers.
Meanwhile India's Home Minister Shivraj Patil was shocked when he found mobile phones in the country's eastern frontiers functioning, courtesy of the sophisticated rural telephone network of Bangladesh instead of the Indian communications network coverage. In a bizzare incident the Indian Border Security Force Director-General Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary took out his mobile phone and showed the home minister the frequency and network code on his handset, courtesy of Bangladesh's GrameenPhone's roaming facility (source). "We were witness to the incident and it was a shame being in India and having to use a Bangladesh network for calling someone within our country," Sammujjal Bhattacharyya, leader of the All Assam Students' Union (AASU), said.
Bangladesh should not bother as long as revenues are flowing inside the country.