Bangladesh: Some Unique Services from the Telcos



There are currently six(6) mobile operators in Bangladesh. Among them GrameenPhone, AKTEL, Banglalink, Warid and Teletalk are the GSM operator. Whereas CityCell is the only one CDMA operator in Bangladesh. So far GSM is more popular than CDMA here. I think this is because of characterstics of Bangladeshi people. We generally like to change handsets frequently. Or I may say that we like to have more handset options in which sector GSM technology is found great. Anyway today I will just try to focus on some of the Value Added Services (VAS) from different operators here which I think gave some sort of uniqueness to them.

Current Subscriber Base:

As per Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Mobile phone subscriber has reached 34.37 Millions at the end of December 2007. The allocation is as follows:

1. GrameenPhone [16.48 Mil]
2. Aktel [6.40 Mil]
3. Banglalink [7.08 Mil]
4. CityCell [1.41 Mil]
5. Teletalk [0.85 Mil]
6. Warid Telecom [2.15 Mil]

So the above figures can be considered as the latest subscriber base of the Bangladeshi mobile operators. And it is very much competitive to do business here. So operators are always trying to give something special to their subscribers to retain their subscriber base.

Some Unique Services:

1.Blackberry Service:

GrameenPhone(GP) came out with Blackberry service under the umbrella of their Business Solution. They are providing two packages of Blackberry service: BLACKBERRY ENTERPRISE SERVICE (BES) and BLACKBERRY INTERNET SERVICE (BIS). BES is purely business solution which integrates different types of Corporate Services whereas BIS is more for the personal usage. Basically through the Blackberry service they have introduced the Push Mail feature as well as the Personal Information Management (Calendar, Tasks and Addresses) functionalities.

2. MMS Greetings Portal:
MMS Greetings Portal, is a web and mobile portal through which subscribers can send MMS Greetings to their near ones (of course who are carrying AKTEL numbers). The uniqueness here is: A party necessarily needs not to have MMS enabled handset to send MMS greetings. Because anyone who can visit the website or the Mobile site can be able to send MMS Greetings to B party. For more detail about the service you can visit my article .

3. International MMS:
Among all the six operators, so far I know Grameenphone is providing the opportunity to send MMS internationally .As per the list they have currently 23 MMS roaming partners at this moment. The MMS tariff for the international MMS is 15 BDT+ VAT.

4. CityCell Zoom:
Zoom is a broadband service to the CityCell subscribers which created a massive gossip. Zoom is using CDMA200 1x technology to provide high speed internet service. Also Zoom has introduced a different sort of tariff plan for browsing which is basically usage base pricing. To get detail visit here.

5. Warid SIM Genie Menu:
It is basically SIM STK menu from Warid through which the subscribers can access several Warid services. SIM Menu eases the life of the subscriber to access several types of services. SIM STK menu is also provided by other operators also (AKTEL, Grameenphone etc) but Warid is branding SIM Genie Menu massively.

6.AKTEL International Voice SMS:
AKTEL pioneered the International Voice SMS service in Bangladesh. Currently AKTEL subscribers can send voice SMS to India, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Hong Kong, and Saudi Arabia. But more countries are going to be included in the list. The tariff for the International Voice SMS is 6.00 BDT (excluding VAT) for sending and 2.00 BDT for retrieving.

7. Banglalink Online MCQ Model Test:
Banglalink has launched a different type of service for the SSC (similar to O level examination) candidates. They are providing the service along with Dhaka-BD where the candidates having a Banglalink number can register for the online model test examination. The service is more on the internet examination but Banglalink is managing the SMS based registration process.

8. GrameenPhone CellBazar:
This is also a unique service launched by GrameenPhone for their subscribers. Here the subscribers can buy and sell their goods or products. If someone wants to sell something he or she can upload information here from their phone. The buyer visits CellBazar from their mobile (It is a mobile portal) and if they are interested they call and communicate directly with the seller.

9. GrameenPhone Web SMS:
So far I know GrameenPhone is providing the option to send SMS from their website. Subscribers can register for the service, login and send SMS from the GrameenPhone website. Also to promote the service the SMS tariff is kept 1.00 BDT whereas generally peer-2-peer SMS charge is 2.00 BDT in most of the cases.

10. GrameenPhone Instant Messaging (IM):
GP is providing IM service to their subscribers. This is also the unique service which GP is only providing right at this moment. The IM services are GP to GP Chat, SMS, Broadcast Message, Off line messages, Presence status display, Chat Rooms etc. Subscribers can visit the GP mobile portal, download and install the IM application and use. The IM service gives GP sort of uniqueness in the era of Instant Messaging.

Conclusion:

So far I have depicted several types of Value Added Services from the Bangladeshi operators which may be considered as unique services. But of course yet also the trend is to provide the Value Added Services only within the operators own subscriber base. But I think to make the services more reliable to the subscribers it is necessary to provide inter operator services (like inter operator MMS etc) so that the subscribers do not have any service boundary.


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