~story by Mikey Leung~
After reading Kirsty’s recent post about her upcoming visit to Bangladesh, there is one thing that most flashpackers like herself don’t know about this “underdeveloped” nation.
Bangladesh has one of the best internet connectivity services I’ve experienced in the entire world. Although there are mixed reviews on that subject.
From my point of view, it is absolutely amazing that, using an EDGE-enabled mobile phone, one can have wireless broadband connectivity almost everywhere in Bangladesh (except for the Chittagong Hill Tracts, where people use antennas to get mobile signal for voice communications. Often it is not strong enough for data service). EDGE is the successor of GPRS, an older, slower technology for packet data transfer.
Here’s what you need:
- EDGE-enabled mobile phone (our suggestion is the Nokia 6110 for 6,500Tk or about $100 USD). You can check Grameen’s list of phones here, or browse your mobile phone vendor’s site for more information.
- Some way to connect the phone to the computer. If you own a Mac, Bluetooth works alright although there are sometimes modem errors (see this article for more information). Otherwise a PC can be connected with a USB cable, and if you use a Nokia mobile, use the PC Suite application to control the phone’s internet mobile connection.
- Grameen Post-paid SIM card. Head to a Grameenphone customer service center and bring a copy of your passport plus two passport pictures. Make sure they activate the EDGE service on the SIM card. The best part is the cost: Tk1,150 per month for unlimited browsing ($15 USD per month).
If you’re not the most technically inclined person, it is best to bring your computer to the Grameenphone customer service center along with your mobile phone. They should be able to help you to complete the connection and get you online.
There are other services available in Bangladesh, but only Grameen offers unlimited bandwidth service, so it gets our vote because we are data-hungry people!
Hands-On Disaster Response provides an even more comprehensive guide at this link (PDF, 48KB). Cheers for putting that together, HODR!!