Bangladesh's Grameenphone targets 50 million internet users in 5 years

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 14, 2014 7:18 AM

DHAKA (Reuters) - Grameenphone <GRAE.DH>, the Bangladesh subsidiary of Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor <TEL.OL> said on Tuesday it aimed to connect 50 million internet users within the next five years.

Grameenphone became the first-ever mobile telecom operator to cross the 50-million-subscriber mark in the country last month, although the company officially announced the milestone only on Tuesday.

"Today, we celebrate our customers with this milestone," said Vivek Sood, Chief Executive Officer of Grameenphone.

As part of a celebratory offer, internet speeds of existing data packs for 3G mobile subscribers will double at no additional cost, he said.

Sood said Grameenphone has invested around 12 billion taka or $154 million every year over the last few years to upgrade the netwrok and maintain service quality.

He said annual investments would rise substantially, but did not specify by how much, over the next five years to cater to the expected 50 million internet users.

Oslo-listed Telenor, which has 150 million subscribers worldwide, has a 56 percent stake in Dhaka-listed Grameenphone, its most profitable unit.

Grameenphone became the first operator to bring all 64 districts in the country under the 3G network in March.

The Grameenphone network comprises 8,600 base stations covering 99 percent of the population.

Grameenphone was the first Bangladeshi telecom operator to introduce prepaid services and international roaming in 1999.

Grameenphone shares fell 2.70 points to close at 372 taka on Tuesday.

(Reporting By Serajul Quadir; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)