There are 5 mobile network operators in Bangladesh:
- Grameenphone (joint venture with Telenor)
- Banglalink (by internatl. Vimpelcom)
- Robi (by Malaysian Axiata Group) merging with Robi
- Airtel Bangladesh (by Indian Bharti Airtel) merging with Airtel
- Teletalk (state-owned)
The 3 biggest operators Grameenphone, Banglalink and Robi have more than 90% of all customers. Airtel has applied for a merger with Robi in 2015, which was approved in 2016. With all GSM operators 2G is on 900 and 1800 MHz. 3G up to HSPA+ on 2100 MHz is still in the population centers only, 4G/LTE hasn't started yet. A 6th provider called Citycell based on GSM-incompatible CDMA was shut down in 2016 for not paying its dues.
To purchase a SIM card, the official legal requirements are a registration with:
- one or two passport size color photographs
- photo copy of the passport and visa of Bangladesh
There are some shops or street vendors who will not ask for it. But by law it's required and you should be ready to show and provide it. The price for a SIM card is usually between 100 and 500 BDT. After getting out from the airport exit door, SIM cards may be bought from snack shops located outside the airport. Alternatively, you may visit any top-up or service center of the mobile operators. Wherever you go, you will find within 100 meters some mobile SIM card and top-up vendors.
In 2015 a SIM registration system has been established. Bangladeshis can send their national ID number by SMS. Foreigners should go to the shops for registration showing their passport/visa. All unregistered SIM cards are to be blocked and discontinued after an April 30th, 2016 deadline.
In November 2015 the government blocked social media and messenging apps like Facebook, Viber, Whatsapp, Line and some more on all providers for a few days because of security concerns.
From 2015 add at total of 18% taxes (15% VAT sales tax and 3% telecom tax called supplementary duty) to all given prices.
Grameenphone (Bengali: গ্রামীণফোন) is a joint venture between Norway's Telenor and Grameen Telecom Corporation. It is the largest operator in the country with more than 53 million subscribers, which is about 43% market share. It started with 3G in 2013 and reaches 90% of population coverage by 3G in 2016: 3G coverage map. Full 3G coverage is expected by 2020. LTE will start in 2017 or later. Nevertheless, they are considered the most reliable provider for internet in the country at the highest prices.
They sell a lot of different prepaid starter packs: Nishciento, Bondhu, Amotron, djuice, Smile, Shohoj, Apon and more. All are sold for 200 BDT (plus 18% taxes) and differ only for voice and text as they don't contain data at all. You can get their SIM card everywhere and at their stores (locator).
Data feature packages Edit
Default rate outside of packages is 0.80 BDT per MB up to 200 BDT, then cut off. These packages can be booked on all prepaid plans:
|4 MB||1 day||2 BDT||*5000*11#|
|35 MB||7 days||15 BDT||*5000*27#|
|75 MB||7 days||30 BDT||*5000*12#|
|100 MB||30 days||45 BDT||*5000*28#|
|200 MB||7 days||65 BDT||*5000*29#|
|250 MB||28 days||99 BDT||*5000*13#|
|500 MB||28 days||150 BDT||*5000*30#|
|1 GB||28 days||275 BDT||*5000*14#|
|2 GB||28 days||350 BDT||*5000*15#|
|4 GB||28 days||500 BDT||*5000*31#|
|8 GB||28 days||950 BDT||*5000*18#|
|20 GB||30 days||2,000 BDT||*5000*22#|
|2 GB @night||28 days||250 BDT||*5000*17#|
Activation is online through here or by USSD code. Night package is valid midnight to 10am. To all prices add 18% taxes. All packages are max. 1 Mbps on 3G, except the 4 and 20 GB packs that are max. 2 Mbps. The packages of 8 GB or more can be added by 100 MB for 20 BDT (*500*99#) or 1 GB for 100 BDT (*500*100#).
More Information Edit
- APN: gpInternet
- Website: http://www.grameenphone.com/
Banglalink (Bengali: বাংলালিংক), managed by internatl. Vimpelcom is the 2nd provider in the country. It has more than 31 million customers and a 26% market share serving all 64 districts by 2G and since 2014 by 3G too. They started in Dhakar in 2013 with 3G and cover at least all provincial capitals by now (3G coverage list).
They sell their prepaid starter packs called Play, Desh or 1 sec pulse in their shops (sales and care centers) for around 200 taka. For data it doesn't make any difference which offer to choose, because none of them cointain data for a start.
There and at their sales points, you can get top-ups by e-vouchers or scratch cards ranging fron 10 to 1000 taka. To add a top-up by code, dial *123*<14-digit PIN>#. Furthermore, you can top-up online by credit card.
Data featured packages Edit
Data outside of packages is 1 paisa per 1 KB. They have a long list of so-called "generic volume packs". To all prices add 18% taxes:
|3 MB||1 day||1 BDT||*5000*418#|
|7 MB||2.5 BDT||*5000*413#|
|12 MB||2.5 BDT||*5000*420#|
|25 MB||4 BDT||*5000*429#|
|45 MB||8 BDT||*5000*443#|
|60 MB||3 days||15 BDT||*5000*402#|
|100 MB||7 days||20 BDT||*5000*422#|
|160 MB||30 BDT||*5000*401#|
|500 MB||100 BDT||*5000*482#|
|120 MB||30 days||50 BDT||*5000*423#|
|300 MB||99 BDT||*5000*403#|
|600 MB||150 BDT||*5000*404#|
|1 GB||210 BDT||*5000*481#|
|1.5 GB||275 BDT||*5000*411#|
|2 GB||350 BDT||*5000*406#|
|4 GB||500 BDT||*5000*408#|
|8 GB||900 BDT||*5000*409#|
|15 GB||1,500 BDT||*5000*410#|
All packages don't auto-renew after being used up. You can activate anytime a new package. Activation is done online or by USSD code. Once pack volume is exhausted, 1 paisa / 10 KB charge will be applied and speed will be reduced to 128 kbps to protect. To check pack balance, dial *5000*500#.
More Information Edit
- APN: blweb
- Website: http://www.banglalink.com.bd/
Robi Axiata (formerly AKTel)Edit
Robi (Bengali: রবি) formerly known as AKTel, run by the Malaysian Axiata Group, is the 3rd network provider with 24 million subscribers. It's expected that they will take over Airtel Bangladesh (see below) soon. In 2016 their merger request was approved. The brand Robi will probably be maintained, Their 3G coverage called "3.5G" is still rather patchy: (3G coverage map).
From 15-Nov-2015 onwards, Robi will start simplifying its prepaid product portfolio. From a bucket of 10 prepaid packages, Robi will streamline its portfolio down to 5 prepaid packages called Shorol 39, Unlimited FnF, Goti 36, Robi Club 34, and Nobanno 37. All starters are sold at Tk. 200 and contain only 50 MB data in their stores (store finder).
You can top-up at their self-service mobile balance recharge Kiosk-machines fixed denominations of BDT 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 & 1000. Or buy scratch cards giving you 30-365 days validity. To enter PIN, type *111*<scratch PIN>#. To enquire account balance and validity, type *222#.
Data feature packages Edit
Default rate is 0.015 BDT per KB, overuse fee of packages 0.01 BDT per 10 KB. They offer these data packages. Again, add 18% taxes:
|7 MB||24 hours||2 BDT||*8444*4#|
|45 MB||10 BDT||*8444*21#|
|150 MB||7 days||24 BDT||*8444*2007#|
|100 MB||10 days||19 BDT||*8444*10019#|
|100 MB||28 days||40 BDT||*8444*100#|
|250 MB||75 BDT||*8444*250#|
|750 MB||175 BDT||*8444*500#|
|1.5 GB||275 BDT||*8444*85#|
|2.5 GB||377 BDT||*8444*92#|
|4 GB||499 BDT||*8444*4000#|
All packages auto-renew. To deactivate, dial *8444#. You can purchase same pack multiple times to top-up internet volume. To get 3.5G internet service, you may need to dial *666*1#. To check internet balance,dial *8444*88#.
More information Edit
- APN: INTERNET
Airtel Bangladesh (merging with Robi)Edit
In contrast to India, Airtel in Bangladesh (Bengali: এয়ারটেল), run by Indian Bahrti Airtel, never had a huge share. They've only cared for about 7% of the national subscribers. In 2015 Airtel and Robi (Axiata) agreed to a merger in Bangladesh. Airtel will be dropped and their network will be united with Robi's in 2016 or later as their merger is now approved. Their 3G network is still limited to the Dhaka metro area and some provincial capitals: (3G coverage map).
A starter pack is sold at 110 BDT with 300 MB data and 90 days validity in their service centers (locator). You can recharge online, by electronic rechage kiosks or Easy Recharge in fast food outlets, cafés, super markets and some banks.
Data feature packages Edit
|45 MB||1 day||10 BDT||*121*782#|
|30 MB||2 days||10 BDT||*121*781#|
|60 MB||3 days||15 BDT||*121*5001#|
|100 MB||7 days||20 BDT||*121*771#|
|250 MB||7 days||50 BDT||*121*5003#|
|515 MB||7 days||100 BDT||*121*5011#|
|1 GB||30 days||199 BDT||*121*5014#|
|1.5 GB||30 days||275 BDT||*121*731#|
|2 GB||30 days||350 BDT||*121*5020#|
|3 GB||30 days||450 BDT||*121*5025#|
|5 GB||30 days||650 BDT||*121*711#|
|8 GB||30 days||950 BDT||*121*5040#|
To check balance, type *778*555#.
More information Edit
- APN: internet
- Website: http://www.bd.airtel.com/
Teletalk Bangladesh Ltd., brand name Teletalk (Bengali: টেলিটক) is a state-owned mobile phone company. It's the smallest operator of all mobile phone services in Bangladesh with a 2% market share caring for only 4 million out of 131 million mobile users. It can't be recommended for travelers, because of notoriously unreliable service and general bad coverage.
The Bangladeshi government has rebranded Teletalk in March 2016 in an attempt to accelerate the operator’s financial recovery as it has generated a loss of nearly BDT 4 billion. Teletalk will get a room at every post office as part of the rebranding. Furthermore, Teletalk wants to expand its network through partnerships with private operators. Because of the current situation, no rates are added.
In 2016 plans have been announced to install 685 new 2G base transceiver stations (BTS) and 559 3G BTS, plus upgrade Teletalk’s core network. The network expansion project begins in July 2016 and is scheduled to be completed by December 2017. The cellco has also recently been looking at network sharing deals for additional expansion.