Robi Axiata and Banglalink agree to explore network sharing

Robi Axiata and Banglalink agree to explore network sharing

Bangladesh telcos Robi Axiata and Banglalink have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to evaluate ways that they can share and rationalize their network resources to expand and improve 4G access across the country.

In a joint statement issued Friday, Robi and Banglalink and said that network sharing would ensure better cost efficiency and usage of telco resources, which in turn would enable investments in service quality and value-added services (VAS). Network sharing is also more environmentally sustainable, as it optimises consumption of energy resources, and also helps save foreign currency, the telcos said.

As for the MoU, Robi and Banglalink said the first step will be to evaluate the technical and financial feasibility of network sharing as they await the necessary policy changes and regulatory approval to allow the plan to move forward.

The two telcos added that the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) is supportive of the initiative.

It also has the support of Minister of State for Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology, Zunaid Ahmed Palak, who announced the MoU at last week’s World Telecommunication and Information Society Day in Dhaka.

“This potential collaboration between Banglalink and Robi will encourage innovation and promote the efficient utilization of the nation’s resources in critical national development initiatives, ultimately transforming the lives of Bangladeshi citizens through seamless connectivity,” he said.

Palak also framed the MoU in the context of furthering the government’s ‘Smart Bangladesh’ vision. “We are on a mission to making the Bangladeshi Telecom Industry a driving force in achieving the government’s vision of a Smart Bangladesh,” he said. “Telecommunications, as an essential service, holds the potential to serve as a bridge connecting access to digital services with customers.”

Earlier this month, Veon-owned Banglalink said it had shut down its 3G network to free up spectrum and network resources to boost its 4G network. The telco also signed a strategic agreement with Chinese vendor ZTE to supply solutions to improve the operator’s 4G coverage and network capacity.

As of the end of Q1 2024, Banglalink had 21.5 million 4G subscribers, while its network covered 88% of the population. By contrast, Robi Axiata had over 35 million 4G subscribers, and that its 4G network covers 98.8% of the population.

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