The state-owned telecom operator Teletalk will introduce 5G or fifth-generation technology in the country any day between 12 and 16 December this year, Posts and Telecommunication Minister Mustafa Jabbar says.
"Besides, private mobile operators will also be able to start the service from 2022, as we are going to hold 5G spectrum auction this year," he told a webinar titled "5G Ecosystem in Bangladesh and Upcoming Technologies".
Telecom Reporters' Network Bangladesh (TRNB), a platform of telecom and technology reporters, organised the event on Saturday.
It is not that 5G will be spread across the country quickly, said Mustafa Jabbar, adding, "As 5G technology will be more useful for industries, businesses and trade, our focus will be on that."
Md Shahab Uddin, managing director of Teletalk, said 200 sites in Dhaka city will initially get the service and later, it will be expanded throughout the country.
Welcoming the initiative wholeheartedly, private mobile operators call for infrastructural development before introducing the 5G technology.
M Riyaaz Rasheed, acting CEO of Robi Axiata Limited, said only spectrum is not enough for the 5G technology.
"A developed infrastructure including fiber optic cable connection to mobile network sites is very vital. We mostly need to develop it. But mobile operators are facing problems in fibre optic cable expansion due to a dispute with Nationwide Telecommunication Transmission Network (NTTN) operators," he said.
Yasir Azman, CEO of Grameenphone, the largest mobile operator in the country, urged the regulatory commission to resolve the dispute.
He said Grameenphone is eying to play a lead role in the 5G technology implementation process like it led in the 3G and 4G networks in the country.
"But before launching 5G, four major issues — spectrum, devices, service and infrastructure — have to be ensured," he said.
Shyam Sunder Sikder, chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), spoke at the programme as a special guest.
Engineer AKM Shahiduzzaman, commissioner at the BTRC; Erik Aas, chairman of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh; Tauguangyao, chief operating officer of Huawei and Abdus Salam, country manager at Ericsson Bangladesh were also present, among others.
TRNB General Secretary Samir Kumar Dey presented the keynote at the webinar, moderated by its President Rased Mehedi.
Bangladesh launched 3G mobile communication technology in October 2012 and 4G technology on 19 February 2018.
At present, the country has 17.69 crore mobile subscribers and 12 crore mobile internet users under four mobile operators.
Of that, only 28% of subscribers have adopted 4G networks and smartphone adoption is only 41%.