State-owned mobile operator Teletalk is likely to commence a Tk 180 crore project under Indian credit line, aiming to improve its network at the Sundarbans, haors, forests, islands and parts of Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Teletalk Managing Director Gias Uddin Ahmed has forwarded a proposal to the Posts and Telecommunications Division secretary for final approval to implement the project.
As per the proposal, he said Teletalk is interested in implementing the project titled ‘Establishment of Solar-based Station in Hard-to-Reach Areas for Strengthening Teletalk Network Coverage’ under a soft loan or grant from India.
Of the total project outlay, the state-owed company is hopeful of getting Tk 157.80 crore (US$20 million) from India and the remaining Tk 23 crore will come from self funding.
Teletalk will start the project commencement on June 1 this year, and have a plan to complete it by December 31, 2019, he informed the division.
He said the goal of the project is to cater modern high speed third generation (3G) telecommunication services in hard-to-reach areas of the country where grid power facility is to cope with a challenging situation.
He further said conventional station with commercial grid power connection, BTS room and other establishment will not be possible to be made in the remotest part of the country such as the Sundarbans, haors, forests, islands and parts of Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Teletalk has to move to the aforesaid areas to ensure 2G/3G network coverage in order to alleviate digital divide, the managing director said.
The state-owned cell phone operator has already introduced 10MHz broadband on 2.1GHz WCDMA spectrum to operate 3G across the country.
Teletalk has a plan to expand its network up to Upazila and Union Parisad levels in order to reduce operational cost against paying back of licence acquisition fees at Tk 1630 crore.
The company has a plan to install 400 solar power based stations across the country.
Currently, the number of Teletalk subscribers is 2.989 million, which holds the sixth position out of six cell-phone operators in the country.
In the national medium-term budgetary framework (MTBF) 2012-13 to 2016-17, the allocation for the telecom is considered at Tk 142.8 billion with annual growth rate 9 percent up to 2016-17.