Teletalk’s solar-based network in far-flung areas on the card

DHAKA, Oct 20, 2018 : With the aim of providing modern telecommunication, especially 3G and 4G services to the inhabitants of geographically hard-to-reach areas across the country, state-owned mobile phone operator Teletalk plans to install over 400 solar power-based Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs) in those areas.

The move would pave the way to facilitate high speed internet to over 25 lakh people residence in haor, forest, coastal and hill areas where private operators are reluctant to invest more considering operational cost.

To this end, a development project is now in the Planning Commission awaiting for final approval of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC), said officials.

Talking to a top official of Teletalk has said they have initiated the process so the people of hard-to-reach areas get opportunity to enjoy mobile broadband internet.

He revealed they have planned to install over 400 Node B for expanding 3G and 4G network in country’s far-flung areas including the Sundarbans, haors, forests, islands and parts of Chittagong Hill Tracts.

Officials said the project dubbed as “Establishment of Solar Based Base stations in Hard-to-Reach Areas for strengthening Teletalk Network Coverage” has been approved by the project evaluation committee of the planning commission with a cost of Taka 406 crore, of which Taka 240 crore would be sourced as project assistance.

According to officials, Teletalk initially proposed to run the project at a cost of Taka 180 crore under Indian line of credit in January, 2017. Later, the cost was revised at Taka 406 crore to cover more areas under the project.

Teletalk has planned to complete this network expansion project by August 2020 upon getting approval by the ECNEC.

Currently, Teletalk is implementing two projects to expand its 3G network across the country, although the work of the expansion is running slowly for fund disbursement difficulties.

Meanwhile, all the private operators have started to offer 4G services immediately after handing over license by the government. But, the state-own operator is yet to offer 4G due to network up-gradation.

Officials said Teletalk which started operation in March 31, 2005 now owns 3 percent market share but the Seven Five Year Plan has aimed to boost up this share to 20 percent by 2020.

On the other hand, telecom regulator has issued license to four companies for network tower business but an inter-ministerial meeting opined this project of Teletalk would not pose any duality for network.