Dhaka, July 29 — The number of mobile phone subscribers in Bangladesh has reached 105 million, with nearly eight million new users registering in the first half of this year, officials said Monday.
“The number of subscribers of six cell phone operators stood at 105.051 million in June,” an official of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) told Xinhua.
The number of subscribers of the six operators – Grameenphone, Banglalink, Robi, Airtel, Citycell, Teletalk – stood at 43.967 million, 27.076 million, 22.897 million, 7.821 million, 1.383 million and 1. 908 million respectively.
Cell phone companies sold nearly 12 million new connections in 2012, raising the number of subscribers to 97 million by the end of December, the BTRC said.
The BTRC Monday also invited telecom companies to apply for the country’s first 3G mobile services licences.
The telecom regulator fixed Aug 1 as the deadline for submission of applications.
BTRC chairman Sunil Kanti Bose earlier said the auction for 3G cellular services would be held Sep 2. The auction date has already been deferred twice, first from June 24 and then July 31 due to a number of disputes between the cell phone companies and the government regarding issues like SIM tax and vat on 3G spectrum.
Bangladesh in October last year officially entered the next generation of wireless communications when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the 3G mobile services via state-run cellphone operator Teletalk.
Leading global telecom vendors – Ericsson and Huawei – are already running 3G trials in Bangladesh.
The government in June 2012 signed a loan agreement worth $211 million with the Export-Import Bank of China to support the country’s efforts in introduction of 3G and expansion of the 2.5G network.