State-run cellphone operator Teletalk, which is still lagging behind compared to its private sector rivals in providing services, has taken a mega project involving around Tk 3,000 crore, aiming to expand its network and improve services.
The project planned to bring hundred percent areas of the country under Teletalk's network by 2024.
A recent meeting of the Post and Telecommunication Division took some decisions, including expansion of its network. Post and Telecommunication Minister Mustafa Jabbar and Prime Minister's Information and Communication Technology Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy were, among others, present.
Talking to UNB, Mustafa Jabbar said the government has taken all the necessary steps to address the shortcomings of the state-owned company and help it catch up with the private operators. "A mega project has been taken to bring the whole country under Teletalk network," he added.
Sahab Uddin, Managing Director of Teletalk Bangladesh Ltd, said the project titled 'Expansion of Teletalk 4G Network and Providing 5G Network Services in Rural Areas' aims to bring the whole country under Teletalk network.
The project has already been approved by the Planning Commission, and it now awaits the Finance Ministry's vetting. If it gets approval of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec), the work will start by June 2020, he added.
A second project will be taken before completion of the first one, said Sahab Uddin adding that the government will take a decision in this regard later as many foreign investors have expressed their interest to invest.
Now Telatalk has 47 lakh subscribers and the company has a target to increase its customer base to 70 lakh by 2020, 1 crore by 2021, 1.5 crore by 2022 and 2 crore by 2024, he added.
Sahab Uddin also expects that people in rural areas will enjoy 4G network services by 2024.
As per the network expansion plan, the Teletalk chief said they will set up 5,850 Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) in 2019-20, 9,510 BTS in 2020-21, while 12,510 BTS in 2021-22, 13,310 BTS in 2022-2023 and 15,510 BTS in 2023-24.
The Teletalk authorities expect to earn Tk 1,001 crore in 2019-20 fiscal year against their last year's revenue earnings of Tk 640 crore.
Telatalk has fixed a target to earn Tk 1,324 crore in revenue in 2020-21, Tk 1,778 crore in 2021-22, Tk 2,389 crore in 2022-23, and Tk 3,734 crore in the fiscal year 2023-24.
He also said women and students are going to enjoy special offer packages on the occasion of Bangabandhu's birth cemetery with internet data facilities at a rate less than other mobile operators.
Oporajita package was launched for women and almost 15 lakh people have so far subscribed the package, he said adding that their target is to provide 23 lakh SIM cards under the package.
Teletalk started its venture in 2005 with a capital of Tk 643 crore and it was later renamed as Teletalk Bangladesh Ltd in 2008.
With the G2G Chinese finance, Teletak expanded its 2G/3G network upto zila and upazila levels in 2013-15 with the investment of Tk 1,700 crore.
Now Teletalk is targeting government and corporate officials, students, youths, and female customers to expand its business and provide them with modern digital services , he said adding that it is also planning to increase D-Education, Health, MFS, IOT, and AI-based services.
According to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), there were 75.619 million Grameen Phone subscribers, 47.760 Robi subscribers, 34.817 million Banglalink subscribers and 7.387 are Teletalk subscribers in the country as of August, 2019.