Internet subscriptions rebound after six months
The number of internet subscribers in Bangladesh saw its first rebound after six months in February this year thanks to a jump in mobile internet users.
The number of internet users jumped by nearly one million subscribers to hit 12.50 crore in February compared to the previous month, according to data of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).
Internet subscriptions in the country have been declining since August last year as people are tightening their belts amid skyrocketing inflation.
Besides, the SIM sales ban on Grameenphone also contributed to a drop in the overall internet subscriber base.
In February, the number of mobile internet subscribers grew by nearly 10 lakh to 11.31 crore compared to a prior month.
Officials of mobile network operators say their massive network expansion drives ensured better quality of service, boosting data usage at the same time.
For example, market leader Grameenphone recently completed the deployment of an additional 2,000 towers, bringing its total to over 20,000, which is the highest among all operators.
Additionally, the company deployed additional spectrum last year.
Khairul Basher, head of communications at Grameenphone, attributed the gain to its drive towards connecting towers via optical fibre cables, saying it delivers customers with more quality services.
According to him, their optical fibre connectivity is at over 35 per cent, up from 17 per cent a year ago.
"The company was recently recognised for its consistent quality by different global platforms, which is the outcome of relentless efforts to meet customer expectations by improving network quality," he said.
For faster internet speed, the operator also added high-capacity radio to enhance the transmission facility of its existing base stations.
Banglalink has also undergone massive network expansion.
"We attribute this uptick in customer preferences to our ongoing investment in network expansion, enabling our customers to experience Ookla certified fastest 4G while utilising our innovative and quality digital services," said Taimur Rahman, chief corporate and regulatory affairs officer of Banglalink.
As per Ookla's Speedtest Intelligence report, Banglalink delivered the fastest average download speed among the top local mobile network providers with 19 Mbps in the fourth quarter of 2022.
It recently completed the deployment of 4,000 base transceiver stations, taking its total to more than 14,500. The expansion resulted in a roughly 40 per cent expansion of Banglalink's total coverage.
Robi Aixata also deployed hundreds of new towers throughout last year, taking its total number of towers to nearly 15,500.
On a year-on-year basis, mobile internet subscribers grew by about 5 lakh.
The number of broadband internet users remained unchanged at 1.18 crore in February compared to a month earlier. However, it grew by 17 lakh year-on-year over the same period.