Mobile network operators in the country are increasing the number of network towers every year with a view to providing their customers with better services, but unplanned tower constructions coupled with operators' unwillingness to share each–other's infrastructures are not letting the quality of services improve, said stakeholders at a roundtable on Thursday (21 July).
Tower sharing would improve the quality of services and would also help to save huge amounts of electricity and foreign currencies, they observed.
In his keynote presentation at the roundtable entitled "Challenges in Infrastructure Sharing for Network Development" was organised by Telecom and Technology Network Bangladesh (TRNB), TIM Nurul Kabir, independent telecommunication expert, said tower sharing licences were granted to four companies in 2018 in order to ensure optimal use of towers and minimise long-term environmental impacts, land and energy costs.
As per the towerCo guideline, mobile operators are not allowed to build new towers on their own, but mobile operators in the country are building towers at their will to compete with each other, he maintained.
He also said that over the last 25 years, mobile operators have only shared 17% of their towers with other service providers.
Currently, Robi is sharing 30% of its towers, while the ratio is 18% for Grameenphone and 17% for Banglalink.
To make infrastructure sharing active, he recommended that if an operator or tower company has a tower at a place, no tower company should be allowed to construct any tower within one kilometre of it.
Speaking as the chief guest at the discussion, Posts and Telecommunication Minister Mustafa Jabbar said it is not appropriate to build multiple infrastructures in the same place unnecessarily.
"It is our responsibility to share the infrastructure we are building with each other," he said.
Shyam Sundar Shikder, chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, said, "Telecom service providers are interested in increasing the market size rather than interested in increasing the quality of service."
"Operators are reluctant when it comes to sharing infrastructure," he said.
SM Masudujjaman Robin, general secretary of TRNB moderated the programme, presided over by the organisation's president, Rased Mehedi.