At 4.39 Megabits per second (Mbps), Banglalink subscribers experienced the highest 3G download speed between September and November last year, a JP Morgan report has said.
Banglalink subscribers had a good experience when they downloaded videos and images, made video calls, and engaged in other activities online, as the report, titled "Asia Pacific Equity Research," noted.
Released on January 23, the report analysed statistics from mobile phone operators across 14 Asian countries.
Currently, Banglalink has 25 million internet users out of its altogether 35.23 million subscribers. It is the third largest operator in the country in terms of subscriber base. It offers HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) technology in its 3G connection, which extends and improves the performance of the existing 3G networks.
Airtel Bangladesh merged with Robi in November 2016, to begin operating as only Robi. The JP Morgan report said Airtel offered the second highest download speed, which was 4.12 Mbps.
Grameenphone ranked third on the list, with its subscribers getting 3.88 Mbps. It is the largest mobile phone operator in the country in terms of revenue, coverage and subscriber base.
Robi's 3G download speed was 3.77 Mbps – the lowest in that period – even though it is the second largest mobile operator in the country, with the number of subscribers reaching 49 million at the end of December last year.
Banglalink's dual carrier 3G and 4G network
Banglalink said topping the 3G download speed list was a reflection of its relentless efforts to provide subscribers with the best-in-class digital services.
"We have an efficient performance management system, and state-of-the-art solutions for network coverage and capacity," Taimur Rahman, chief corporate and regulatory affairs officer of the company, told The Business Standard.
He said, "Banglalink has a strong dual carrier 3G and 4G network powered by the additional spectrum we purchased at the last auction. The network is fully capable of catering to customers' demands by providing super-fast internet connection across the country."
Taimur said his company would remain committed to offering customers "a more enabling digital life" by leveraging the latest technologies.
Sumayia Mariam, who has been a Banglalink subscriber for a decade, told The Business Standard the company's network coverage in the urban areas is satisfactory.
"But I face trouble when I go to the rural areas or the countryside. At the same time, the signal is sometimes weak when I am on the upper floors of big buildings. This is something that needs to be improved," she added.
Over 59 million 3G users
At present, the country has 165.57 million mobile phone subscribers, and 93.68 million mobile internet users.
Of the total number of internet subscribers, 59.04 million use 3G connections.
The number, however, is gradually declining as 4G networks have been introduced in the market.
In 2012, the government issued 3G licences to private operators.
In general, 3G networks offer a speed of at least 7.2 Mbps. This gives users the ability to download documents, images and videos within a short time.
Under 2G technology, users could get the highest download speed of 64 Kbps.