3G in Bangladesh : A Maze
Md. Arifujjaman Nipu
B.sc in ETE
Daffodil International University
The concept of 3G has come like a blessing to us. In Bangladesh it is just few steps behind from the opening. The only state owned mobile operator company ‘Teletalk Bangladesh Ltd.’ has got the license of 3G network. It is a GSM based operator. According to the white paper calculation the expected data rate is 2Mbps. But in other countries such as our neighboring country India, they are offering up to 21.1Mbps data rate (DoCoMo). So what is the problem in our country? Is it the technology or the business policy? In this article we will try to find the answers.
From Technological Point of View:
The 3G standard now being implemented all over the world by many GSM operators is called either UMTS or WCDMA and the 3G standard of CDMA is called CDMA2000. For 3G services like video calling, heavy downloading etc., huge data rate is required. The CDMA requires less frequency spectrum to exchange equal volume of data that of the GSM technology. So using same frequency spectrum as GSM, the CDMA can offer more data rate. So migration to 3G from CDMA is much better than migration from GSM. Now the question may arise that, then why in Bangladesh we are migrating to 3G from GSM instead of CDMA. The answer is, most of the people of our country use GSM supported handsets. And WCDMA will be less expensive than CDMA2000 because of large GSM volume is flawed in our country. But the hardware and feature characteristics of CDMA2000 devices are more analogous to WCDMA devices than WCDMA devices have with GSM devices. It would be easier to migrate from CDMA to CDMA2000 for our country if most of the people have CDMA supported handset. On other hand the infrastructure of WCDMA is more complex than CDMA2000, but it is not a good idea to remove the previous GSM structure and build fully CDMA based 3G network. So, to build a new CDMA2000 infrastructure beside UMTS can be a better solution for the existing GSM mobile operators in our country like ‘Reliance’ in India.
From Business Point of View:
The aim of the BTRC was to earn USD1.5 billion from the spectrum fees. If BTRC choose a CDMA based mobile operator for the license, then the expected revenue would not be achieved, because CDMA2000 need less frequency spectrum than WCDMA. Moreover, the mobile operator companies always want to keep their customer in order to increase revenue and reduce the cost. To do so it should keep in mind that the data service does not harm the voice service. And this may be a reason for migrating to UMTS instead of CDMA2000 in our country. Volume is an important price factor for handset. Due to the higher volume, the price of GSM handsets is lower than the equivalent CDMA supported handsets in our country. So migration into CDMA2000 is more complex in our country in terms of cost.
Conclusion: In spite of being high in data rate and less complex network setup CDMA2000 is not the first choice in our country, because huge change is required. In Japan and India the CDMA2000 is the most popular 3G network, because they are using CDMA network vastly from the beginning of the 2G cellular telephony system and it became easy for them to migrate into CDMA2000 from CDMA. But for Bangladesh it is not so easy to implement CDMA2000, because the GSM has been given the high priority from the beginning. So in order to get high data rate at cheaper cost we need to grow more CDMA based network and also make available the CDMA supported handsets in our country.
1. ‘Three Topics that Continue to Be Misunderstood by the Wireless World’ By Jeffrey K. Belk.
2. BTRC’s 3G license guidelines.