Friday, October 28, 2005 - Bangladesh Telecom

Poor network keeps Teletalk subscribers in spin

Most of the 1.75 lakh subscribers of Teletalk Bangladesh Limited fail to make or receive calls because of is poor network and coverage, and interconnection problem with four other mobile operators.

Subscribers of the state-owned mobile operator complained in most cases, they failed to make or receive calls as the network always remains busy because of its poor infrastructure.

They said the subscribers needed to make several attempts to get through and calls drop very often.

Teletalk subscribers are often greeted with a message — You have dialled a wrong number — when they try to make calls to another Teletalk number. ‘This is simply a farce with subscribers,’ said Biplab, an aggrieved subscriber.

'We have faced baton charge and long queues in front of the banks to get the Teletalk SIMs, hopeful of a good service at an affordable price. But the hope fades away,' said another subscriber, Abdullah, who recently switched back to his previous operator. 'It is a waste of government money.'

The Teletalk officials attributed the poor network situation to a hurried launch of the mobile service.

'We were ill prepared during the launch and the subscribers are now paying the price,' said a general manager of Teletalk. Teletalk began its commercial operation on March 31.

'We launched the service with an infrastructure which was only 20 per cent complete. We have completed the infrastructure by 50 per cent by now,' he said. 'You cannot expect a 100 per cent service from a 50 percent infrastructure.'

The officials said that the problem would somewhat be solved by December as they hoped to install some new base transceiver stations by the time.

They said most customers had been facing problems as Teletalk has yet to install all the base transceiver stations across the country.

The transceiver stations are land-based stations in a mobile wireless network that consist of an antenna and radio equipment that is necessary to provide wireless service in an area.

'We have installed only 270 base transceiver stations, 70 of them in Dhaka,' said a senior Teletalk official. But many of those installed stations are yet to be functional for lack of power connection. 'This is why the call congestion is obvious.'

The operator has planned to set up about 570 stations across the country. One hundred and forty of them will be installed in Dhaka.

Charge-free incoming calls to Teletalk from landline have also aggravated the problem further as many Teletalk subscribers receiving landline calls talk for hours, keeping the network busy.

Regarding interconnection,
The official said Teletalk was facing interconnection problems with GrameenPhone, the largest mobile operator in Bangladesh. 'The interconnection problem with GrameenPhone will soon be solved.' But interconnection with Aktel and Banglalink is not good either.

Teletalk will provide around 2.5 lakh connections in the first phase.

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