33 million Internet users in Bangladesh

May 31, 2013

The number of Internet users in the country touched the 33.43 million mark at the end of April this year, according to a senior official of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). About 95 per cent of them use the Internet through mobile phones, while the rest use broadband Internet from Internet Service Providers (ISP), he said.Suman Ahmed Sabir, former vice-president of the Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB), described the spurt in the number of Internet users as a positive one. He said dependence on mobile phones for surfing the Internet has increased sharply, as ISPs carry out their operations only in major cities, including the capital.
He also said lack of infrastructure has forced many ISPs to stop their operations outside Dhaka. He further said the growth of broadband Internet has been slow in the country, even though there is an urgent need for proper development of the information and communication sector.
He said the government should take steps to reach the Internet to persons in charge of responsible government offices.
Mobile phone operators submit the number of their customers who apply for the minimum Internet connectivity of 90 days, according to an official of a mobile phone operator. According to him, the number of Internet users has been increasing rapidly since six mobile phone companies and two Wimax operators across the country have started offering different Internet packages.
He expressed the hope that introduction of the new 3G technology would push up even more the number of Internet users. “Now, the government-run Teletalk offers a limited 3G technology to its customers,” he added.
Of the telecom operators, Grameenphone is leading the sector with 10 million Internet subscribers, followed by Banglalink’s 9.7 million, Robi’s 4.4 million, Airtel’s 2.8 million, Citycell’s 0.3 million and Teletalk’s 0.255 million.
Internet service providers (ISPs) and PSTN (public switched telephone network) operators have around 1.22 million users, while two Wimax operators – Banglalion and Qubee – have 0.49 million customers with Internet connectivity.
TIM Nurul Kabir, secretary general of the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB), said surfing has become important for mobile phone users. “Mobile phones have become a service tool. It is providing multiple services to the people. In addition to voice call, mobile phones provide different data and multimedia services. That’s why people are using such phones to conduct their everyday business,” he added.

-With The Independent input

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