DHAKA, Oct 14 (BSS) -A new horizon has been opened up in Bangladesh‘s telecom sector, as the state-owned mobile phone operator Teletalk today launched its much-awaited 3G (third generation) mobile phone service, the first of its kind in the country.
Inaugurating the commercial testing of 3G mobile phone technology of Teletalk, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said it has set a new milestone in the country’s telecom sector elevating Bangladesh to the level of the countries that are ahead in mobile phone technologies.
With the launching of 3G technology, she hoped, speedy internet services will be available through mobile phone, while exchange of information and data would be fast and easy.
"Mobile phone subscribers would get developed digital services including making video call and expansion and various applications of 3G technology would be ensured," she added.
Post and Telecommunication Minister Advocate Sahara Khatun chaired the function held at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
The function was also addressed by eminent IT specialist Sajib Wazed Joy, Post and Telecom Secretary Sunil Kanti Bose and Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jun.
The Prime Minister said information and communication technology could reach multidimensional trend of development to the grassroots level speedily and at low cost and link the people with the world. "To utilise the huge capability of the ICT, we made commitment to building Digital Bangladesh by 2021 in our election manifesto," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said new technology would help flourish IT industry and services side by side with ensuring massive use of IT in all sectors including education, research, industry, agriculture and services. "It would also help increase export of information technology and services and create employment for educated youths," she said.
Besides, she said, the lot of the underprivileged people would be changed and free flow of information for empowerment of the people would be ensured. "We have advanced a lot in achieving the goal," she added.
The Prime Minister said her previous government in 1996 brought the mobile phones within the reach of the common people by breaking its monopoly to sustain in the competition in this era of information technology.
"We have given the opportunity of flourishing the sector and brought the computer within buying capacity of the people by withdrawing import tax and duty on the computer products. We have also formed a taskforce for the expansion of the IT," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said immediately after assuming office this time, the present government has framed the ICT Act and Policy as well as the Telecom Act.
"We have also brought the whole country including the Chittagong Hill Tracts region under the mobile phone network and created a scope for sending SMS in Bangla through mobile phones," she said.
The Prime Minister said the new generation is being familiarised with IT. "E-book has been prepared with the textbooks of primary and secondary levels and computer education made compulsory at secondary level," she said adding that computer education would be introduced at lower secondary level from the next year.
Sheikh Hasina said her government is providing computers to every school and establishing multimedia classrooms. "We are giving training to the teachers for raising their ICT skill," she said.
The Prime Minister said the government has so far set up nearly 3,000 IT labs in different schools and colleges. "We are sending mobile IT labs in remote areas and made arrangement for solar energy where electricity is not available," she added.
Sheikh Hasina said a skilled manpower is being built in the ICT sector and the work on setting up hi-tech park has started at Kaliakoir in Gazipur.
"We have raised the capacity of internet bandwidth and made internet services available, while initiatives have been taken to launch the country’s maiden satellite to achieve own capacity in the telecom sector," she said.
The Prime Minister said the government has increased coverage and speed of internet services and bandwidth capacity side by side with expanding optical fibre network up to the union level.
She said Bangladesh is advancing keeping pace with digitised world as nearly 10 crore people are using mobile phones and 25 percent people are taking internet services.
"We are going to the way of building Digital Bangladesh free from technology divide for all citizens of the country," she said.
Sheikh Hasina thanked the Chinese government for their assistance in launching 3G service in Bangladesh.
Sajib Wazed Joy said 4G sevice would be introduced in Bangladesh in future if Awami League is voted to power again.
He said the 3G licence policy is being finalised and other mobile phone operators would get licences of 3G soon through auction.
Later, the Prime Minister launched the Teletalk 3G service by pressing a button. She talked to President Zillur Rahman over phone by using 3G technology.
She also talked with the students of Azimpur Girls High School over phone by using 3G technology.
According to Teletalk officials, the 3G service would be available in Dhaka for the time being, through the 200-odd 3G-enabled base transceiver stations the state-run operator has installed in the capital city.
Other divisional headquarters would get the service in phases, they said.
The service will be rolled on to the private mobile networks once the licences are secured via the auction due in early next year.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) allocated 5 megahertz (MHz) spectrum from the 2100 MHz band, for now, to Teletalk for the trial purposes.
3G, short for 3rd generation of mobile telecommunications technology, enables video telephony and high-speed internet access from the mobile network.