||A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (December 2013)|
|Headquarters||Tigers' Den, House # SW(H)04, Bir Uttam Mir Shawkat Sharak, Gulshan-1, Dhaka-1212, Bangladesh|
|Key people||Ziad Shatara, MD and CEO|
|Products||Telephony, EDGE, GSM, HSDPA/3G|
|Revenue||৳ 37.87 billion (2012)|
|Parent||Global Telecom Holding|
Banglalink Digital Communications Limited, DBA Banglalink (Bengali: বাংলালিংক), is the second largest cellular service provider in Bangladesh after Grameenphone. As of June 2013, Banglalink has a subscriber base of 27 million with 25.7% market share. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Telecom Ventures Limited of Malta which is owned by Global Telecom Holding.
Banglalink had 1.03 million connections until December, 2005. The number of Banglalink users increased by 257 per cent and stood at 3.64 million at the end of 2006, making it the fastest growing operator in the world of that year. In August, 2006, Banglalink became the first company to provide free incoming calls from BTTB for both postpaid and prepaid connections. On August 20, 2008, Banglalink got past the landmark of 10 million subscriber base.
Sheba Telecom (Pvt.) Limited was granted license in 1989 to operate in the rural areas of 199 upazilas. Later it obtained GSM license in 1996 to extend its business to cellular mobile, radio telephone services. It launched operation under the brand name Sheba in the last quarter of 1997 as a Bangladesh-Malaysia joint venture.
In July, 2004, it was reported that Egypt based Orascom Telecom is set to purchase the Malaysian stakes in Sheba Telecom through a hush-hush deal, as Sheba had failed to tap the business potentials in Bangladesh mainly due to a chronic feud between its Malaysian and Bangladeshi partners. An agreement was reached with Orascom worth US$25 million was finalized in secret. The pact has been kept secret for legal reasons, considering financial fallout and because of the feud.
The main reason for the undercover dealing was the joint venture agreement between the Bangladeshi and the Malaysian partners, which dictates that if any party sells its Sheba shares, the other party will enjoy the first right to buy that.
Integrated Services Ltd. (ISL), the Bangladeshi partner, was being ‘officially’ shown as purchasing the shares held by Technology Resources Industries (TRI) of Malaysia for US$15 million. ISL then paid another US$10 million to Standard Chartered Bank to settle Sheba's liabilities.
In September, 2004, Orascom Telecom Holdings purchased 100% of the shares of Sheba Telecom (Pvt.) Limited. It was acquired for US$60 million. Sheba had a base of 59,000 users, of whom 49,000 were regular when it was sold. Afterward it was re-branded and launched its services under the Banglalink brand on February 10, 2005. Banglalink’s license is a nationwide 15-year GSM license and will expire in November, 2011.
In March, 2008, Sheba Telecom (Pvt.) Limited changed its name as Orascom Telecom Bangladesh Limited, matching its parent company name.
Banglalink uses the following numbering scheme:
+880 19 N1N2N3N4N5N6N7N8
Where, +880 is the ISD code for Bangladesh and is needed only in case of dialing from outside Bangladesh.
19 is the access code for Banglalink as allocated by the Government of Bangladesh. Omitting +880 will require using 0 in place of it instead to represent local call, hence 019 is the general access code.
N1N2N3N4N5N6N7N8 is the subscriber number.
Banglalink currently offers two prepaid plans. All the prepaid plans come in two phases—Standard (T&T incoming and outgoing with Nation Wide Dialing and ISD) and M2M. All connections provide GPRS to subscribers.
- desh, with the slogan Ek desh Ek Rate! (means one country one rate!), is one of the cheapest prepaid plans in the country by tariff. Users of desh can call any mobile operator at 0.45 taka (excluding VAT) during 12 AM to 5 PM. It also has three FnF numbers. desh was launched on September 14, 2006.
- desh rang is launched as a brand extension to enrich the brand of desh. Rang is a Bengali word which means color. It is introduced with the catch phrase—Rangiye Din Apnar Jeebon (means color your life.). This package is beneficial for customers who mainly make calls to their own network and are heavy SMS users. It offers four on-net FnF numbers, but no off-net FnF number.
- Regular prepaid was the first package Banglalink had to offer. It is currently unavailable in the market.
- ladies, first!, with the slogan Shomporker Network (means network of relationships), was tailored for women. It was launched on September 3, 2005. It had introduced 1 second pulse for the first time in the prepaid market. It offered four FnF numbers. It is currently unavailable in the market.
- be linked! was launched on November 16, 2005. It was later taken over by desh package as all the be linked! customers were automatically migrated to desh.
Currently there are three postpaid plans from Banglalink for its tail customers. These packages are known as enterprise personal, which is a subset of much larger Banglalink enterprise. All packages come with T&T local, Nation Wide Dialing, ISD and e-ISD connectivity.
- personal package 1
- personal supplementary
- personal call and control
- upper class, a postpaid platform, was launched on July 31, 2005. It was mainly targeting slightly upscale consumers. It had numerous packages under two different tariff plans—tailor made and made to measure. In addition to those, it introduced a hybrid product named call and control designed to offer the value of postpaid with the control of prepaid. Later enterprise personal took control of upper class.
Banglalink delivers customer care using its call centers and customer care networks. Currently Banglalink provides customer care services through:
- Banglalink sales & care centres
- Banglalink points SIM replacement, reconnection, bill payment etc. They are strategically located at key points around the country. Kallol Group, a local distribution company, had partnered with Banglalink to operate at least forty Banglalink points throughout the country. As of March, 2008, the deal with Kallol Group has been called off and Banglalink is focusing on managing its own customer care centers.
- Banglalink service points
- Banglalink care lines are call centers serving customers 24 hours 7 days a week with instant solutions.
Criticisms and penalty
In October, 2007, BTRC fined Banglalink Tk. 1.25 billion for its involvement in illegal VoIP or call termination business. The then BTRC chairman major general (retd.) Manzurul Alam confirmed Banglalink's involvement in the illegal trade. Banglalink, however, in a statement said the company has agreed to make a one time fixed payment of Tk. 1.25 billion to the government as compensation for its loss in revenues.
- Credit Rating Report on Orascom Telecom Bangladesh Limited
- chief executive officer - Banglalink
- BTRC: Mobile phone subscribers in Bangladesh
- About Banglalink
- Bangladesh's Banglalink tops 10 mln mobile users
- BANGLAPEDIA: Telecommunication
- Egyptian Orascom Gets Sheba Telecom Malaysian stake
- Orascom Telecom Bangladesh new name of Sheba
- Banglalink changes company name
- Banglalink unveils new post-paid service
- banglalink points
- Kallol Group
- Banglalink fined Tk 125cr for illegal VoIP business