Also doubles data quota for its internet packages

Internet: With significant increase in demand for mobile data, telecommunications company Bhutan Telecom (BT) launched its 4G service in five dzongkhags yesterday. It also launched new data plans/packages to meet the varying needs of its customers.

The nine data packages for its prepaid customers range from Nu 19 to Nu 699. BT postpaid customers now have a choice to opt for any of the six data packages ranging from Nu 199 to Nu 1,599.

Meanwhile, both prepaid and post-paid broadband users have the option of three packages: home, office and enterprise.

BT’s chairman, Tenzin Dhendup, said that with the launch of many new data packages, the company is confident that the needs of all its customers will be met.

He said that the company deliberately scheduled the launch to coincide with HRH The Gyalsey’s first birth anniversary so that the BT family can partake in the joyous celebration in its own small way.

The chairperson said that 4G services could not be expanded widely after its introduction in Thimphu on a pilot basis in 2013 as the ecosystem was not ready.

However, 4G technologies have matured and the ecosystem in Bhutan is now ready for the service with a significant number of people having access to smartphones and the increasing number of people using mobile data.

“Because of this, BT has now provisioned 4G service through 70 sites in Thimphu, Paro, Wangdue, Punakha and Phuentsholing,” he said. “Customers are already migrating to 4G network.”

Currently, there are about 5,000 4G users. 4G data usage increased by 66 percent in 25 days last month. “This is an indication on the quality of 4G service the company is able to provide,” the chairman said.

Besides high-speed internet access on smartphones, the significant increase in demand for mobile data services is another reason for the launch of the 4G service.

BT mobile data usage increased to 219,574 gigabytes (GB) in October last year from 133,055GB in December 2015, thereby increasing by 65 percent over a period of 10 months.

“Wide roll out of 4G services will help meet the increasing demand for mobile data service,” the chairman said.

The company has invested more than Nu 3 billion in the past three years to keep pace with technology and meet the expectations of the company’s valued customers.

“The company has no choice but to make investments even when it does not have enough funds of its own,” the chairman said.

While BT had taken many measures to address the congestion issue of its 2G and 3G networks, the launch of 4G services is expected to further reduce the load on the 2G and 3G networks, thereby bringing in improvements in the quality of service, the chairman added.

The event’s chief guest, the Druk Holding and Investments’ chairman Dasho Sangay Khandu, said that as per the Global Mobile Trends report of the GSMA, over 1 billion more people will be using mobile phones by 2020 compared to 2015. This indicates that the increasing number of people in the world will use mobile data and Bhutan will be no exception.

“Increasing number of Bhutanese will use mobile data and BT will need to continue to provide reliable and affordable data services,” he said.

Dechen Tshomo