A popular YouTuber took to the street to visit some places in Dhaka- a few of course- where the latest mobile network 5G is available only to find out that even 4G is not running well, which has been around for three years!
He took a few latest smartphones with the capabilities of using 5G as well. He also took 5G enabled sim cards- which is provided only by the state-run mobile operator, Teletalk, who recently launched 5G in only six places in the country, four of them in the capital.
The YouTuber went to check the 5G network around the Bangladesh Parliament area, Manik Mia Avenue, which is among the four areas in Dhaka which now have the 5G coverage but found that the download speed is slightly ahead of 8 Mbps- much lower than the average speed of 4G!
"I use mobile internet regularly, and my experience of using 4G is mixed with happiness and annoyance," Zakaria Ibn Yusuf, a multimedia journalist, told Dhaka Courier. "Sometimes I get 4G at full speed, and sometimes the only signal of 4G- no speed at all, which I can acknowledge as 4G. It's somewhat better in the capital and other city areas, but when I go to the village for reporting, I cannot upload even a small video on my social media channels, which is so disappointing."
According to the standards specified by the International Telecommunication Union, a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for all matters related to information and communication technologies, the 4G network should be capable of delivering a peak speed of 100 Mbps (not MBps), and it's the theoretical maximum network speeds. In the typical world, a 4G network should be able to ensure a speed of 20 Mbps which is, obviously, not available in Bangladesh despite the operators claim that they provide the best quality of 4G.
"The 4G network can provide a great speed, but I often experience that my device has a sign of 4G, but there is not enough speed," Khalid Saifullah, a regular mobile internet user in Dhaka, said. "We hoped that 4G would be better than 3G, but that did not happen as it was expected. Now, we are hoping that 5G would be better than the 4G we currently have access to."
Anik Mishkat, a journalist at one of the most-read online-based media outlets, said he often travels to different parts of the country for professional purposes, and his experience of using mobile internet is mixed.
"I went through the different types of experience while using mobile internet provided by the different operators. Like many other users, I also get 4G better in the city area, but it doesn't meet the standard in remote areas. It gets worse while travelling in speedy buses or trains. I hope these problems will be solved when 5G will be available around the country in the next few years," he said.
While Bangladesh just entered the 5G era, at least 61 other countries have been enjoying the service so far including a few from Asia.
According to Abu Saeed Khan, a senior policy fellow at LIRNEasia, a think-tank based in Colombo, Bangladesh's decision to launch 5G is not forced by market demand, it's rather a political decision. "Talking about 5G is nothing but a stunt when the quality of 4G is so poor," he said to the media recently. "As per market demand, we don't need 5G, we need a good quality of 4G."
Teletalk says that they will install 5G capabilities to at least 200 BTS, and with this, more Teletalk users will be able to experience the latest generation of network. And according to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), the other operators of the country will participate in an auction for spectrum in March 2022.
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