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Banglalink mulls over best data services to subscribers

Ziad Shatara

Ziad Shatara

Mobile phone operator Banglalink intends to be the leading data operator in the country with an aim to offer its customers the utmost satisfaction of using data bundles.

The second largest mobile operator in the country, Banglalink wants to bring in a change to data market through its offering of HSPA+ (High-Speed Packet Access) service – a high-level 3G network, and modernised 2G internet services.

Banglalink Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ziad Shatara came up with the revelation about the company’s data services plan while talking to the Dhaka Tribune last week.

In an exclusive interview, Ziad Shatara said currently, the country witnesses a massive scale of data usage by the mobile subscribers and Banglalink wants to top the list of internet service providers.

The CEO termed the existing internet data services by the mobile operators “data revolution”.

He said: “Our aspiration is to take the lead as the best data service provider in the country and the users’ satisfaction is our only goal.”

“At the moment, we are the market leader among the mobile internet operators in the country in terms of coverage as well as speed, and without any doubt, I can say we are providing one of the best networks in the country.”

Two weeks ago, Banglalink achieved a landmark of 30 million active subscribers and the cellular company is running a modernised network.

“We have 30 million happy customers and they are our power to expand our business.”

The chief executive officer claimed that they have quality network coverage that satisfies their subscribers who provide feedback for the company.

Ziad Shatara maintained that the network quality also makes a difference between Banglalink and its other competitors.

The Banglalink boss hopes that by the end of October the company will complete all of its modernisation process and their customers enjoy much faster data services even through 2G services.

From the customers’ point of view, they will get the highest 2G speed with the help of modernised network, he added.

Though Banglalink reached a milestone of 30 million subscribers its market share is only 25%, 3% down from what it was in 2011.

In this regard, Ziad said the market share is increasing from January 2014 and within three to five years the company targets the next 1-crore milestone.

“Currently, there are 70% penetrations and I hope 100% by the next five years and then Banglalink will have 40 million subscribers.”

About the massive scale usage of data, he added that from January 1, 2014 to the end of September the data consumption has turned triple.

But in in terms of  voice business the company found its growth ranges between 5% and 10%.

The users nowadays tend to using internet more and more on their mobile sets, using facebook, whatsapp, viber, etc, he said.

Ziad described the fact that currently, all applications that are in the offing depends on data and that is why the mobile operators need more and more spectrum and should bring their data charges down.

He called upon the government to see to it that the more people are connected to internet, the more they will contribute to the economy.

The CEO went to the extent of saying that the internet facilities would contribute to beating traffic on the streets and ease human activities.

People would arrange meeting through video calls, share documents and make transaction through internet, he noted.

Ziad observed that there is a direct benefit to the economy from the services and Banglalink wants to be a part of the government initiative for developing the economy.

Regarding their balance sheet, the Banglalink CEO said though they are not in profitable position, but their performance curve is on the upswing.

In reply to another question, he siad: “We might not go to a profitable stage by this year and  consider issuing IPO after making profit.”  Ziad considers that Bangladesh has achieved maturity on telecom services, but at the same time he thinks there is no need to offer LTE (Long Term Evaluation, another fastest data services) before three-four years.

He added that voice business will never die, it might shift its position only.

If people use whatsapp or viber, from revenue aspect, voice position may lose, but data opportunities will increase, said the CEO.

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Report: Muhammad Zahidul Islam
Source: Dhaka Tribune

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