Qubee had over 300,000 subscribers, but that number has since fallen to less than 50,000 users
Popular wireless internet service provider (ISP) Qubee Bangladesh plans to upgrade its network and services despite a funding crunch that could force it out of the country.
According to sources, the company has struggled with financial problems for the past two years and has been subjected to a cost cutting process.
“The company is considering laying off its employees as part of the closure of its operations in Bangladesh because it has failed to resolve the crisis,” a senior company official said on condition of anonymity. , at the Dhaka Tribune.
“Qubee has already moved its head office in the Mirpur area to Dhaka from the posh corporate area of Gulshan.”
Despite the financial crisis, Qubee recently signed an agreement with another wireless internet service provider, Banglalion Communications Ltd, and plans to move its subscribers under Banglalion operations, sources said.
Qubee is operated by Augere Wireless Broadband Bangladesh Ltd (AWBBL), a subsidiary of UK-based WiMax broadband internet company, Augere.
It launched its services in Bangladesh in 2009 after obtaining a license from the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC).
It provides wireless broadband to households and businesses in Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Khulna, Cox’s Bazar and other major cities and districts across the country.
At its peak, Qubee had more than 300,000 subscribers, but that number has since fallen to less than 50,000 users, according to sources.
Several Qubee officials, all of whom requested to remain anonymous, said they had struggled to pay operational costs because local partners and shareholders were not investing in the company to overcome the funding crunch. Other sources said Qubee owed the government around Tk 33.26 crore as a frequency fee until June 2017.
Amid financial difficulties, the company announced on Monday its new plan to launch LTE internet services, also known as 4G, and gradually improve coverage across the country.
The company signed the deal with Banglalion on June 14 – a move that sources say is part of the “conclusion” of its Bangladesh business.
However, senior Qubee officials say they have no plans to leave the country.
“We are not finishing our business; we are working to provide better services to our customers, ”Prateek Kundu, AWBBL commercial director, told the Dhaka Tribune.
In a recent company statement, Qubee said that Prateek Kundu has signed the agreement with Banglalion to offer similar services to all customers as part of Banglalion’s WiMAX / LTE coverage.
“We are currently in the process of upgrading our network to advanced Long Term Evolution (LTE), which will allow… much higher speed and better data throughout. The new Qubee LTE network will be rolled out over the next few months, ”the statement read.
Sources said the BTRC had not been officially informed of the Qubee-Banglalion merger.
“Regulators must be notified if an operator moves its subscribers to another operator, but they have not been informed of the deal between Qubee and Banglalion,” a senior BTRC official said.