During the 1990s, analog phones were the predominant mode of telecommunication and talking to someone on the phone cost on average Tk. 21 for every three minutes, added to Tk. Monthly subscription of 2,000 and Tk. 35,000 connection fee. Fast forward to 2022, you can use as little as Tk. 0.60 per 10 seconds of conversation – a significant increase in flexibility and affordability. When landline phones were still popular and mobile internet was an imaginary stuff, long distance communication was a long and tedious process. Not only involve an active T&T number, but the person you want to call should also have a wired network connection in their respective area.
Fortunately, call costs have become much more flexible since ancient times – possible thanks to the operator working and contributing to the digitalization of the nation since its inception – Grameenphone. The brand has also provided Bangladesh with reliable mobile internet access through its extensive network coverage. Establishing high-level and uninterrupted means of communication is a crucial step towards realizing the recently launched goal of “Smart Bangladesh” of overcoming existing barriers with the benefits of modern technology.
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As the government aims to create a smart nation by 2041, Grameenphone, since its inception 25 years ago, has been a major catalyst for the same goal. By ensuring mobile access and high-speed internet in remote areas, training a future-ready workforce and providing innovative and emerging technologies such as eSim and 5G services, Grameenphone is asserting itself. as a key element in the development of what we recognize as a smart nation – a country technologically adapted to the world of tomorrow.
Being a smarter nation naturally presupposes the basic requirement of telecommunications: an aspect that Grameenphone fully embodies. A forerunner of prepaid calling service in the country, Grameenphone’s low-cost prepaid system has not only helped break down communication barriers across the country, but has also helped bridge the digital divides that previously existed between rural areas. and urban. Instant access to telecommunications has also enabled low-income and rural citizens to contribute to the national expansion of accessibility to local services and businesses.
During their lifetime, Grameenphone invested in Tk. 416 billion for the development of the telecommunications sector of Bangladesh, with Tk. 37.2 billion in 2021 alone. Since fiscal year 2015-16 and for seven consecutive years, Grameenphone has been awarded as the highest taxpayer in the telecommunications category, contributing greatly to the national income. With an income of Tk. 143,066 million in 2021, Grameenphone grew 2.5% from the prior year. Telecom operators as a whole contributed 1.82% of GDP, with the highest recorded contribution being Grameenphone. Being the operator with the most network towers across the country, Grameenphone has also invested heavily in network development – taking initiatives to transform existing network towers into dedicated 4G towers that cover 98% of the population of the country. At least 13% of the country, including the most remote areas, is covered exclusively by the Grameenphone network – areas where telecommunications are a lifeline. As such, Grameenphone is uniquely positioned as an undeniable economic factor behind the growth of a digitally enabled Bangladesh.
A smarter Bangladesh requires a local workforce capable of meeting future challenges. As such, Grameenphone has contributed to the development of Smart Bangladesh with the ambition to improve the digital skills of young people and create jobs and economic opportunities. Since its launch in Bangladesh in 1997, Grameenphone has continuously built local capacity by relying entirely on local talent. By 2007, the company had spent approximately $4 million to train the local workforce, while investing in building future-proof capabilities and a skilled workforce to meet digital needs from Bangladesh.
To further boost youth employability, Grameenphone annually runs training programs such as Grameenphone Accelerator for local startups and FutureNation for graduate employment, which has been successful in equipping many Bangladeshi talents with the skills needed to excel in the fields of technology, economics and entrepreneurship. Grameenphone Academy, the company’s educational institution dedicated to the development of university students, offers courses that combine academic knowledge and professional experience to equip graduates with practical, industry-focused skills. This has helped to increase the diversity of job skills in many local jobs – diversity that is important to any smart nation. Additionally, every Grameenphone employee is required to complete 40 hours of training every year, which helps them develop and keep up to date with the latest job skills.
Inclusiveness is an important part of building a smart nation. To help people with speech and hearing impairments, Grameenphone launched a service called SignLine in 2020, which enabled sign language support on the official Grameenphone website and MyGP app. . The Grameenphone website also offers sign language video tutorials where anyone can learn the basics of sign language.
Grameenphone has also played a key role in preparing the nation for a smarter future by introducing innovative telecommunications technology. Starting March 7, Grameenphone made a climate-friendly eSIM available to Bangladeshi customers. Grameenphone was also a pioneer in establishing an accessible Internet across the country. In Q3 2022, Grameenphone recorded 3.2 crore active 4G users.
Taking a step closer to the “Smart Bangladesh” goal, Grameenphone successfully conducted 5G trials in Dhaka and Chattogram on July 26, 2022. From September 22, Grameenphone launched 5G services in eight division cities to strengthen further the country’s digital connectivity. Grameenphone 5G services have also been gradually made available in different parts of Bangladesh including Gulshan (Dhaka), Mirabazar (Sylhet), Kolatoli (Cox’s Bazar) and Grameenphone regional offices in Khulna, Cumilla and Mymensingh. As 5G is expected to be a key element in boosting automated manufacturing processes and making industries more profitable and self-sufficient, wider access to this new internet spectrum will enable Bangladesh to achieve more innovation and progress in the sector. telecommunications.
As a testament to Grameenphone’s role in the development of Smart Bangladesh, Grameenphone received the Digital Bangladesh Award 2021 in the institutional category section. The award was given because of the company’s contribution to youth empowerment, the startup ecosystem and the digital innovation sector in Bangladesh. By building a future-ready local workforce and boosting digital connectivity across the country, Grameenphone is helping Bangladesh become a smarter nation.