The average internet speed of mobile operators in Bangladesh is the lowest among the neighbouring South Asian countries. The speed is 10 mbps (mega bits per second) in those countries except India, while only 5 mbps in Bangladesh.
GSM Association, the organisation of mobile phone operators around the world, in its recently published report titled ‘Bangladesh: Country Overview’ has underlined the poor condition of internet speed in Bangladesh.
The report, however, said the speed may increase this year as Bangladesh initiated 4G services in last February.
Secretary general of the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangaldesh (AMTOB), TIM Nurul Kabir, said that internet speed would increase this year with the initiation of 4G services.
According to the report, Bangladesh is the fifth largest mobile user country in Asia Pacific region with 85 million unique subscribers. But only one in five Bangladeshis subscribed to mobile internet services in 2017, despite 3G networks covering in excess of 90% of the population.
As of 2017, 71 per cent of the mobile internet subscribers were still using 2G services, report says.
The report underlines lack of frequency spectrum and poor infrastructure as the main reason for the slow internet speed.
According to the report, Bangladeshi mobile operators had to pay high prices for the frequency spectrum in 4G spectrum auction held in February 2018, which would leave the operators with lack of frequencies.
Poor infrastructure in rural areas is also a big reason for slow internet connection in Bangladesh. Operators show lack of interest in building infrastructure in rural areas as it is not considered financially profitable, says the report.
The report pointed out sharing infrastructure including base transceiver station and fibre optic network among the mobile operators might improve the infrastructure.
Telecommunication research institure Learn Asia’s senior policy fellow Abu Sayed Khan said sharing infrastructure is a common practice worldwide. But Bangladesh has made sharing fibre optic infrastructure illegal. This practice has trapped Bangladesh in hands of foreign mobile operators.