Telecommunication stakeholders have claimed that around 54 per cent of the people in the country are not yet under coverage, which is a key barrier to achieving the “Smart Bangladesh” vision.
They said the government and telecom operators need to discuss with all parties how to address the problem within the shortest possible time.
The Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh Secretary General Brig Gen (retd) SM Farhad said the current combined investment of mobile phone operators is about Tk 34,000 crore.
Addressing an event titled “Improving the quality of telecommunication services in building smart Bangladesh” at the Nasrul Hamid Auditorium of Dhaka Reporters Unity on Saturday, he said telecom operators had played a major role in building Digital Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Mobile Phone Consumers' Association (BMPCA) organised the programme, according to a press release.
“The prime minister has set the target of building Smart Bangladesh by 2041. But 54 per cent of the people in the country are still out of mobile phone network,” Farhad said.
Although there are over 18 crore active SIM cards, which is more than the total population, the number of smartphone users is not increasing, he said.
It will not be possible to build Smart Bangladesh if telecommunication and internet services are not ensured for all along with a quick implementation of the mobile phone service ecosystem, he added.
Telecommunication expert TIM Nurul Kabir said there is not much time left although the goal is to build Smart Bangladesh by 2041.
He said the government and regulators need to hold meetings with all parties to resolve the issue fast. “Regulation and licencing alone will not be enough. Concerted efforts of all are needed.”
Abbas Farooq, chief of regulatory and government affairs at Fiber @ Home, said the governments in many countries provide incentives for expanding the nationwide telecommunication transmission networks, which is not the case in Bangladesh.