Bangladesh Telecommu-nication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Chairman Jahurul Haque on Monday said its 5G auction, scheduled to be held in next January, will be deferred due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We're supposed to launch the 5G auction next year. But I think it will be delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak," he said while speaking at the virtual launching programme of first Smart City Solution partnership with Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC).
Mr Haque, however, said they are determined to launch 5G by the end of next year.
Besides, the government wants to expand 4G network across the country to make high-value internet available in rural areas.
The BTRC chairman requested DNCC Mayor Md Atiqul Islam to complete much-talked-about work on under grounding cables to make the city clean and smart.
Smart City Solution is the result of a recently signed Public Private Partnership (PPP) deal to develop smart city features on a pilot basis.
Under this solution, deployment of multipurpose smart lamp-poles will bring multiple players from the ecosystem together for the first time in a joint effort to provide uninterrupted connectivity to citizens.
The integrated solution will also be able to provide free Wi-Fi services, security surveillance (optional), waste management system through smart bin, real-time air quality monitoring as well as to serve as digital signage for community messages, all of which come as benefit to citizens.
The DNCC mayor, while inaugurating the initiative at the ceremony, said he is committed to convert Dhaka into a smart city.
"We are excited to deploy smart city solutions like these for the first time, giving our people a new and improved platform for social and civil services."
"If this pilot initiative succeeds, then we'll deploy similar smart solutions at 200-250 potential locations all over Dhaka North by 2021," said Atiqul Islam.
"I believe that this is an ideal example of PPP initiative. The engagement allows the tower company to sell its tower space to mobile phone operators using DNCC's unused spaces. In return, citizens will get free services, like - Wi-Fi, light, air quality report, awareness messages, and smart bin etc."
Replying to the BTRC chairman's request, he said work on under grounding cables is not being done due to internal conflict among ISP service providers.
Ricky Steyn, country managing director of edotco Bangladesh, said, "We are proud to be able to partner with DNCC in executing its vision to provide uninterrupted connectivity for all."
"The company has played a key role in developing telecommunications infrastructure in the country. We intend to continue our partnering with the nation towards achieving its Digital Bangladesh vision."
"We are also committed to enabling the nation's 5G readiness by introducing next generation solutions like these (smart city)," he added.
edotco Bangladesh currently owns and operates over 10,000 telecom towers throughout the country. The company has been investing and innovating since its commencement to ensure sustainable and sharable infrastructure towards enabling seamless connectivity for all.
Among others, high officials of DNCC, CEO and Managing Director of Robi Axiata Mahtab Uddin Ahmed, transmission partners and representatives from Fiber at home and Sheba (ISP) and other telecom operators were present at the inauguration ceremony.