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Beginning Of The End Of WiMAX

WiMAX operators of the country have seen a sharp decline in users for last two years. While number of mobile internet users are on the rise, WiMax operators lost 63.14 percent of their customers over the last two years. According to the telecom regulator, in May three WiMax operators together lost about 10,000 users and total active users for three operators became 1.88 lakh, down from 2.91 lakh a year ago. 


Internet penetration is on the rise but the number of people using internet is nothing close to impressive. According to industry experts, current internet users are no more than 18% of the total population. It means, huge opportunity lies ahead. However, given the scenario WiMAX operators are unlikely to take part in this future. We've tried to find out why WiMAX are failing:

1-Limited Coverage: While more and more people in villages are taking on internet, WiMAX operators mostly serve in city areas.

2-Service Innovation: While broadband providers and mobile operators have been working hard to come up with new strategies and services to bring new users on board, WiMAX operators remained oblivious to the changes and seldom tried to be innovative and go beyond their comfort zone. For instance, while many broadband service providers offer unlimited connection for BDT 500-700 with builtin on server unlimited download, WiMAX operators seldom tried to come up with similar offerings.

Hitting The brick Wall

WiMAX came to existence back in 2013 when mobility became a strong question for many internet users. Operators like Qubee and Banglalion offered an option that you could go out and stay connected as well. Back in 2013, pre 3G era, this offer itself was a competitive advantage. Today mobility is no more an advantage let alone competitive. Everyone carries smartphones and devices everywhere with 3G connection. People don't need a dongle to carry to stay connected. This was an apparent challenge to tackle for WiMAX operators but they remained unaware for no good reason and did nothing to tackle the challenge.

It seems days are numbered for WiMAX operators, if they choose inaction. Reports say, almost all major vendors in the world have stopped producing WiMAX network equipment, dongles or other devices. It means it is going to be a uphill battle for three WiMAX operators in Bangladesh.

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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