The government has made much progress in implementing its vision of 'digital Bangladesh', said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the inauguration ceremony of Teletalk's 3G service yesterday.
Hasina unveiled the long-awaited 3G service, at the capital's Bangabandhu International Conference Centre, by making a video call to President Zillur Rahman and a school student.
Hasina said, with the introduction of 3G, people will get high-speed internet service, which will enhance information and data transfer system.
The prime minister also said ICT (information and communication technology) could be employed to take the multidimensional trend of development to the grassroots level speedily and at low costs.
"To utilise the huge capabilities of ICT, we made the commitment to build 'digital Bangladesh' by 2021 in our election manifesto," she said.
"We have advanced a lot in achieving the goal."
The vision looks likely to be realised before 2021, she added.
Zillur Rahman, who was on the other side of the video call, said the country took a step forward towards the 'digital Bangladesh' with the introduction of the 3G service.
The new initiative would play a key role in developing education, health and economic sectors of the country, he added.
The service would be available in Dhaka for the time being, through the 200-odd 3G-enabled base transceiver stations the state-run operator has installed in the capital city.
Teletalk subscribers would receive the service by this month, with the sales of 3G SIM cards and conversion of the existing 2G mobile SIM cards, said its officials.
But the users will have to have 3G-enabled handsets or smartphones or internet modems to enjoy the service, they said.
The service will be rolled on to the private mobile networks once the licences are secured via the auction due in early next year.
Sunil Kanti Bose, the telecommunications secretary, said data use is increasing by the day.
“What used to be 2.5 gigabits per second (Gbps) three years ago, is now 18 Gbps. The lone submarine cable is providing a total of 30 Gbps bandwidth to the market.”
Sajib Wazed Joy, the prime minister's son and an IT expert, said 4G (fourth generation) service, a technology that provides faster internet speed than the 3G, would be introduced in Bangladesh in future -- if Awami League is voted to power again.
As per the 3G draft guideline, the operators who will obtain 3G licences would be able to provide 4G services through their network.
Currently, two internet service providers, Qubee and Banglalion, offer the 4G WiMAX data service, while CityCell's Zoom Ultra brand offers 3G-equivalent internet speed.
Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jun also spoke at the event.