Private mobile phone operator Robi Axiata Limited will launch its mobile data revolution through 3.5G services by October this year.
Michael Kuehner, Robi Axiata Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, disclosed this at a press briefing at a city hotel on Tuesday.
The Robi MD said his company will draw on the international roll-out expertise of parent group Axiata, which is providing 3G and LTE services across Asia, to ensure best 3.5G content and experience for its subscribers.
He said Robi will have a limited 3.5G service launch in October. “This is a new technology for all of us and our priority is a quality customer experience rather than just a speedy execution.”
Michael Kuehner also said Robi expects to incrementally select areas of Dhaka, Chittagong, Comilla and Sylhet by the end of the year.
During his presentation at the press briefing, he explained that 35 percent of the population of Bangladesh will be covered by the first quarter of 2014.
“3.5G technology is vital for the economic growth and development of Bangladesh in a host of different sectors - from education to health to commerce,” said the Robi MD and CEO.
“In receiving this license for Robi, we’re embracing the mobile data revolution, expanding the country's data services and enhancing capacity, aimed at improving the lives of the people as they connect with each other and the rest of the world. Not only does the license further bolster Robi’s robust and high-performing data services, but it also complements our existing state-of-the-art network that currently offers the widest, most reliable and highest quality coverage across the country,” he added.
Replying to a question, Robi Chief Financial Officer Mahtab Uddin Ahmed said mobile phone operator subscribers will get the 3.5G service free of cost in their existing SIM.
In reply to another query, he said their company paid around Tk 525 crore to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on Tuesday, which is almost 60 percent of the fees for 5MHZ of 3G spectrum.
Robi Axiata Ltd on Sunday acquired 5 MHz of 3G-spectrum in an auction arranged by BTRC. The spectrum, which is part of the 2100 MHz-band, will enable Robi to further expand and develop its position in the market with innovative data packages via 3.5G-platform.
Robi Chief Marketing Officer Pradeep Shrivastava and Chief Technology Officer AKM Morshed were, among others, present at the press briefing.