State-run mobile phone operator Teletalk decided to expand its network coverage in remote areas by installing solar powered base stations.

The company, officials concerned said, will spend about Tk 406 crore on the network expansion under a new project to bring some 25lakh underprivileged population of remote areas under mobile telephone coverage.

A large number of the country’s areas including haor, forest, Island, hilly areas in Chittagong, Jamalpur, Sherpur, Netrokona and Mymensingh remain out of modern and faster 3G technology.

Teletalk finds it an opportunity to enhance its sliding market share trough expanding its network in these areas where private operators are yet to reach.  As part of the network expansion plan, 400 solar-based base transceiver stations (BTS) will be installed under the initiative. At present, Teletalk’s market share fell to only 3 percent. It was created as company back in 2004 with Tk 2,000 crore capital and it started commercial journey on March 31 in the following year.

The government has a plan as well to raise the market share to 20 percent by 2020 in line with its 7th Five-year plan.

A project proposal has already been sent to Planning Commission regarding the solar based network expansion plan.

Commission sources said Planning Commission has already completed evaluation of the proposal which will be placed soon at Ecnec meeting for approval.

Tk 255 crore, out of Tk 406.17 crore estimated project cost, is expected to come from third Indian Line of Credit (LoC), while Tk 125.24 crore will be borne from the state coffer and Teletalk will provide Tk 25 crore.

The initiative of installing solar power based off-grid BTS has been taken as setting up on-grid power stations in the mentioned remote areas, where there is not electricity, is very tough.

Operation cost of these BTSs is low, which will help expand teletalk’s network where revenue will also remain low becuae of low population density.

Besides, 20 lakh 2G subscribers and five lakh 4G subscribers will be created with expanding soft switches, media gateway HRLS and DGSN under the project.

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