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Bangladesh's Wi-Fi Hotspot Rollout Slowed by Regulatory Difficulties

Bangladesh’s mobile networks are deploying Wi-Fi hotspots to handle growing demand for mobile data offloading, but are holding back on widespread rollout due to a regulatory problem.

Currently, the mobile networks are not allowed to deploy their own Wi-Fi hotspots, and have to partner with an existing Internet Service Provider (ISP). The ISP in turn has to request permission from the regulator to be allowed to offer Wi-Fi coverage.

Citing sources at the regulator, the Dhaka Tribune reported that the mobile operators had sought permission to run their own Wi-Fi service but the BTRC rejected the request and retained the ISP partnership requirement.

“GP has launched the Wi-Fi service on a test basis with iconnect, but we are not satisfied enough to launch the service on commercial basis,” GP’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Mahmud Hossain told the newspaper.

Grameenphone has secured Wi-Fi hotspots around the capital in partnership with Iconnect, while Banglalink and Robi are also planning to start the service.

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