Tuesday, November 08, 2005 - Bangladesh Telecom

Teletalk may borrow money to improve network

The state-owned mobile phone operator, Teletalk Bangladesh Ltd, is thinking of borrowing from banks to expand its network coverage across the country, officials say.

A top official of Teletalk said that the company needs around Tk 200 crore immediately, to invest in network expansion in order to solve its 'crippling network problem'.

'We need the money on an urgent basis for expansion as the customers are suffering due to poor network coverage,' said a general manager of Teletalk.

The company's 1.75 lakh customers have been plagued by poor network coverage since it started commercial operations in March this year.

The company has a plan to distribute around 2.5 lakh connections in the first phase at the cost of around Tk 796 crore, which the government financed by selling telecom bonds.

As the second phase of the project is yet to kick off, it is difficult for Teletalk to wait for government money to expand its network, said the official.

Moreover, as a public limited company, the mobile operator has to manage its own operation financing, as the government only financed the project, said the official.

'In this circumstance, we are thinking of borrowing money from banks,' said the general manager.

The official, however, said that the plan to borrow money from banks is still in the 'primary stage' and may take some time to gain concrete shape.

The official also said that some banks, including Dhaka Bank, Prime Bank, BASIC and City Bank, have already shown interest in lending money to Teletalk for network expansion.

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