'Internet for All,' is the theme with which Grameen Phone (GP), the leading mobile phone operator in the country, has been working in Bangladesh, the topmost official of the firm said.
"We are focusing on internet, because it empowers the society by connecting people and it also opens new windows of opportunities," Rajeev Sethi, Chief Executive Officer of GP told The Daily Observer in an exclusive interview on Sunday.
Shethi has been leading the Norwegian telecom operator Telenor in Bangladesh after taking charges from his compatriot Vivek Sood in December. During the interview Shethi focused on different issues related to the telecom sector of the country.
Explaining three focusing areas of the theme Shethi said: "GP is not a telecom operator only but also an intuition which is trying to contribute for the society in touch of technology. At GP, we are focusing three area of development to empower society; Education, Health and Agriculture."
"As you know the magic of GP-sponsored online schools which shows us how the internet empowers the society regularly. There are many remote areas as you mention like Barisal in the country where the children are deprive of quality of education. Online school is best solution to connect those with quality education as possible," Shethi said.
He shared the innovation of his team with a mobile application from which students can learn easily using internet.
The GP boss putting light on a particular innovation said: "We are working with mobile software to introduce academic curriculum to the students of remote area in a simple way. Initially the Mathematics and English curriculums are integrated in the application which will be unveiled in public in first quarter of the next year. "
"Since the third generation technology is introduced in Bangladesh, GP has covered with 3G of 37 per cent of five crore customer base. The number is impressive than our neighbour market in India where the 3G technology is introduced four years earlier than Bangladesh," he said with a tone of achieving a great success.
"The data usage is growing in good rate. The people are using internet for many task in their way of life. You will find some example around as like a carpenter share photo of orders to the customers using internet. On average, 250-300 megabyte are used by a internet user in the country at this moment," he informed.
Replying the question about fourth generation service of LTE in Bangladesh that is known as 4G, he said, "GP is ready with its international quality network. But the smart phone penetration is very essential to prepare the field for LTE. Firstly the regulator should decide about this and then the operators will invest for the service. Again I say, we are technically ready for the next generation service".
Shethi has served as CMO in Uninor for nearly two years. Prior to that, he spent more than three years as the head of Uninor's Uttar Pradesh East circle. He has significant ICT industry experience, including executive engagements in companies such as Vodafone, HP, Hutchison Telecom and Asian Paints.
Shethi brought the latest activities of in his words saying: "We have introduced a new platform for young entrepreneur namely GP Accelerator. It is not alike a incubator at all but all needs. We have introduced the programme in association with Start-up Dhaka to promote the ideas of young minds as well as associate them providing office space in GP house here as well as making interaction with GP top executives and foreign investors".
"There is no alternative to entrepreneurship to empower society. For example, at GP accelerator, we found five start-up ideas those can be engage hundred and thousands of people when they will be success stories by times" GP boss expressed his vision with start-ups.
GP CEO is very hopeful about the Mobile Financial Service (MFS). He started to say about their own service namely, MobiCash.
Shethi said, "We are very hopeful about the possibilities of MFS. At MobiCash we are playing a role of an aggregators having partnership with six commercial banks at this moment"
Mr Sethi received a Master of Business Administration in Marketing, Finance and Operations from the Indian Institute of Management in Lucknow. The recent buzz words in the telecom sector, call drop came in Rajeev's words.
He said, "As a telecom operator, GP is very respectful to the customers. The global regulation of International Telecommunication Union and local regulator BTRC have a bench mark or call drop that is 3 per cent. At GP there is huge traffic found in pick hour that is below 1 per cent at average in both 2G and 3G network at all. At 3G the ratio is around 0.33 per cent".
When the GP Boss was asked about the consumption of call drop that was withdraw after introduced earlier this year.
Shethi said, "At this moment all of the tariff plans of GP are designed including maximum ten second pulses and minimum one paisa per second. So customers pay according their call duration. I think the condensation is not essential as all."