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Bangladesh

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BasicsEdit

Operators Edit

There remain 4 mobile network operators in Bangladesh:

  • Grameenphone (joint venture with Telenor)
  • Robi-Airtel (by Malaysian Axiata Group and Indian Bharti Airtel) currently merging their networks
  • Banglalink (by internatl. Vimpelcom)
  • Teletalk (state-owned)

The 3 biggest private operators Grameenphone, Banglalink and Robi-Airtel have more than 95% of all customers. Airtel has applied for a merger with Robi in 2015, which was approved in 2016 and merging their networks in 2017. A 6th provider called Citycell based on GSM-incompatible CDMA was shut down in 2016 for not paying its dues.

Frequencies Edit

With all operators 2G is on 900 and 1800 MHz. 3G up to HSPA+ on 2100 MHz is still in the population centers mostly. 4G/LTE hasn't started yet, but in 2017 the regulator plans to make all licenses technology-neutral and give out new spectrum. So it can be expected to be launched in 2017.

Registration Edit

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.

Top-ups Edit

You can go to almost any phone shop to top-up prepaid credit. You don’t have to go to the provider whose network you’re using. Some corner shops also do top-ups. The usual phrase used for topping-up your phone in Bangladesh is ‘flexi-load’.

Censorship Edit

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.

Taxes Edit

Unfortunately the providers display rates with or without taxes. From 2017 add at total of 21% taxes (15% VAT sales tax and 5% telecom tax plus 1% supplementary duty) to all given prices of Airtel and Teletalk, while in Grameenphone's, Robi's and Banglalink's rates taxes are already included.

GrameenphoneEdit

Grameenphone

Grameenphone (Bengali: গ্রামীণফোন) is a joint venture between Norway's Telenor and Grameen Telecom Corp. It's the largest operator in the country with more than 53 million subscribers or a 43% market share.

It started with 3G in 2013 and reaches a 90% of population coverage by 3G in 2016: 3G coverage map. Full 3G coverage is expected by 2020. 4G/LTE will start in 2017.

Generally, they are considered the most reliable provider for internet in the country at the highest prices.

Availability Edit

They sell a lot of different prepaid starter packs: Nishciento, Bondhu, Amotron, djuice, Smile, Shohoj, Apon and more. All are sold for 200 BDT (tax incl.) 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). They also have a counter selling SIM cards as you exit customs at the airport (open even at 3am!).

Data feature packages Edit

Default rate outside of packages is 0.971 BDT per MB. These packages can be booked on all prepaid plans:

Volume Time Price (Tk.) Activation
2 MB 2 days 1.50 BDT *121*3001#
4 MB 1 day 2.50 BDT *121*3002#
35 MB 7 days 18 BDT *121*3003#
60 MB 3 days 22 BDT *121*3029#
75 MB 7 days 37 BDT *121*3004#
100 MB 30 days 56 BDT *121*3005#
250 MB 28 days 119 BDT *121*3006#
500 MB 28 days 149 BDT *121*3007#
1.5 GB 28 days 337 BDT *121*3009#
2.5 GB 28 days 427 BDT *121*3010#
4 GB 28 days 609 BDT *121*3012#
8 GB 28 days 1,157 BDT *121*3013#
12 GB 28 days 1,522 BDT *121*3014#
20 GB 30 days 2,436 BDT *121*3015#
2 GB @night 28 nights 149 BDT *121*3011#

Activation is online through here or by activation code. Night package is valid midnight to 10am. All packages are max. 1 Mbps on 3G, except the 4 and 20 GB packs that are max. 2 Mbps. Overuse is charged at 0.01 BDT per 10 KB.

More Information Edit

Robi-AirtelEdit

Robi-Airtel

The merger of Bangladesh’s third Robi Axiata and fourth Airtel placed cellcos agreed in January 2016 creates a new second-ranked operator behind Grameenphone and in front of Banglalink in user number terms. The new Robi-Airtel Bangladesh is owned by Axiata (68.7%), Bharti Airtel (25.0%) and Japan’s NTT DOCOMO (6.3%). Network integration is underway in 2017, but both brands Robi and Airtel will be maintained at least for the meantime.

Robi Axiata (formerly AKTel) Edit

Robi

Robi (Bengali: রবি) formerly known as AKTel, used to be the 3rd network provider with 24 million subscribers. Their 3G coverage called "3.5G" is still rather patchy: (3G coverage map), but with the intergration of the Airtel network will be improved.

Availability Edit

From 2015 onwards, Robi started simplifying its prepaid product portfolio. From a bucket of 10 prepaid packages, Robi streamlined its portfolio down to 5 prepaid packages called. All starters are sold at Tk. 200 in their stores (store finder). They all contain only minimal data for the start and differ in voice and SMS rates only.

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. In these prices below 21% tax is already included:

Volume Time Price (Tk.) Activation
7 MB 24 hours 2.44 BDT *8444*4#
45 MB 12.18 BDT *8444*21#
150 MB 7 days 29.22 BDT *8444*2007#
1 GB 91.48 BDT *123*3*2*2#
175 MB 10 days 40.18 BDT *8444*0175#
2 GB 14 days 181.41 BDT *123*3*2*3#
120 MB 28 days 46.87 BDT *8444*100#
300 MB 91.31 BDT *8444*250#
600 MB 170.45 BDT *8444*0600#
1 GB 213.06 BDT *8444*500#
2 GB 322.15 BDT *8444*85#
3 GB 459 BDT *8444*92#
4.5 GB 607.53 BDT *8444*4000#
350 MB unlimited 120.53 BDT *123*99#
1 GB 242.28 BDT *123*199#
2 GB 364.03 BDT *123*299#
1 GB 3 nights

12-10am

23.13 BDT *8444*31990#
2 GB 35.31 BDT *123*0239#

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

Airtel Bangladesh Edit

Airtel

In contrast to India, Airtel in Bangladesh (Bengali: এয়ারটেল) never had a huge share. They've only cared for about 7% of the national subscribers.Their 3G network is still limited to the Dhaka metro area and some provincial capitals: (3G coverage map). The Airtel brand seems to be maintained as second brand of Robi-Airtel.

With network integration underway in 2017 existing Airtel subscribers can now enjoy double their previous network coverage across in the integrated regions, alongside improved 3G mobile data speeds due to the integration of the former standalone operators’ 2100 MHz 3G spectrum. Airtel Bangladesh network users activating the option to switch to the combined network receive free one-off bonus mobile data allowances as an incentive. You need to select any Robi-Axiata network manually.

Availability Edit

A starter pack is sold at 99 BDT with 50 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 package Edit

They offer these internet packages, add 21% taxes:

Volume Time Price (Tk.) Activation
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 50 BDT *121*5003#
515 MB 100 BDT *121*5011#
1 GB 28 days 199 BDT *121*5014#
1.5 GB 275 BDT *121*731#
2 GB 350 BDT *121*5020#
3 GB 450 BDT *121*5025#
5 GB 650 BDT *121*711#
8 GB 950 BDT *121*5040#

To check balance, type *778*555#.

More information Edit

BanglalinkEdit

Banglalink

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 towns by now (3G coverage map).

Availability Edit

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 scratch cards ranging from 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 or using electronic recharges called iTop-up.

Data featured packages Edit

Data outside of packages is 1 paisa per 1 KB. They have a long list of so-called data packages. The following prices are with taxes included:

Volume Time Price (Tk.)
9 MB 1 day 3 BDT
50 MB 13 BDT
100 MB 7 days 26 BDT
175 MB 36 BDT
300 MB 30 days 119 BDT
1 GB 209 BDT
2 GB 349 BDT
5 GB 499 BDT
25 GB 1,799 BDT

All packages don't auto-renew after being used up. You can activate anytime a new package. Activation is done online. 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#.

Banglalink has also introduced so-called recharge packs. These are only available by iTopUp when you need to top-up the exact amount to trigger a data package:

Data Time Top-up (tax incl.)
100 MB 7 days 26 BDT
175 MB 36 BDT
1 GB 30 days 209 BDT
2 GB 349 BDT
5 GB 499 BDT
25 GB 1,799 BDT

Taxes are included in prices. Check data volume of recharge packs by *124*50#

More Information Edit

TeletalkEdit

Teletalk Bangladesh Ltd

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. So far 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.

Availability Edit

Their SIM cards can be bought at their Customer Care Centers (list) for 110 BDT plus tax. Default pack is called Projonmo, but many other packs are available too. They differ slightly for the default rate, but the same packages can be added to all lines.

You can top-up by voucher of Tk. 20-1000 giving 60-365 days of validty or online using a credit card. Check balance by *152#.

Data feature packages Edit

Default rate for Projonmo is Tk. 0.01 per 15 kb. They have a multidude of data plans available, that are on 3G too where available:

Teletalk1

Google

To all packages add 21% taxes. Unused data will be carried forward if same data package is availed before expiration of existing data pack. To check data volume text letter 'u' to 111.

More info Edit

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