Broadband in Bangladesh is growing significantly. Here’s why
This country snapshot mainly highlights the growth in fixed broadband and mobile market in Bangladesh which grew by around 40% YoY and 15% YoY, respectively. In general, the growths were both driven by the active network rollouts in line with the Vision 2021 (Digital Bangladesh) initiative – which resulted in expanded service coverage by most operators. In the fixed broadband segment, BTCL has already started extending its current 21 500 km fibre networks to the areas of Kuakata, Benapole, and Akhaura; and constructing the transmission backbones which will connect further the city of Dhaka to both Benapole and Akhaura. In the mobile segment, all three major operators have already launched their 4G services during the year, following the 4G concessions from the government. As of March 2018, GrameenPhone is already offering its LTE services in the towns of Dampara, Khulshi, and Nasirabad – and eyes further extension to the areas of Baridhara and Gulshan in the following months. Banglalink, on the other hand, has started to offer the same services in Chittagong and Khulna, while Robi Axiata has already covered all the 64 Bangladeshi districts with its 1 500 LTE towers - and is planning to increase it further to 2 500 by end-2018. Despite this trajectory, InfoCom expects a possible slowdown in mobile development due to market saturation, alongside the continued impact of the mandatory prepaid SIM card registration in the country (note that prepaid subscriptions comprise around 90% of the total mobile subscriptions). Since 2016, the regulatory body has only allowed a mobile user to own a maximum of five prepaid SIM cards, down from the earlier approved 20 SIM cards.