Pioneers of Connectivity: Exploring the Top Telecom Operators in SAARC (South Asia)


Pioneers of telecommunication in South Asia

South Asia is one of the fastest burgeoning economies in the world and the telecom industry is equally enthralling. The region is home to over 2.04 billion population with well over 1.5 billion mobile subscribers. Over the years, the entire region has seen its digital landscape transform thanks to the advent of modern cellular technologies, especially 4G LTE. The milestone digital growth is the result of and not limited to the top telecom companies in each SAARC member nation. Here, we highlight the top telcos in each South Asian country and how they are pioneering the digital connectivity in their home countries.

Bharti Airtel (India):

Bharti Airtel is one of India’s top leading telecom operators, is at the forefront of connecting people across the country. Backed by its reliable network and innovative services, the private telco has become a household name in providing seamless communication to millions of people. From affordable calling rates to ultra-fast internet, Airtel ensures that everyone stays connected, be it in bustling cities or remote villages.

Airtel has made its name for its high-quality mobile services across the giant country. In terms of cellular services, the Sunil Mittal-owned company provide postpaid and prepaid GSM mobile services including 4G LTE and 5G with the latter already reaching across the major cities in India. The company has also unveiled plans to operate satellite broadband services with satellite provider OneWeb. Among its notable services is international roaming service which comes for INR 133 per day. The company boasts a strong customer base of 375 million as of September, 2023.

Bharti Airtel is driven by the commitment to deliver high-quality services and realize customer satisfaction and continues to shape the future of telecommunications in the industry’s third-largest market in the world, making communication accessible and convenient for all.

Grameenphone (Bangladesh):

Grameenphone, a top-tier operator in Bangladesh, and is at the forefront of connecting the people across the country. The company boasts a reliable network and affordable services. The Dhaka based telco has played an important role in bridging the communication gap in both urban and rural areas.

Grameenphone provides an exhaustive range of mobile services led by its flagship 4G connectivity with nationwide coverage. It also provides international roaming service for Bangladeshis abroad. In its drive for delivering modern and innovative services, the company has also launched eSIM and IoT services. It’s currently serving 80 million of subscribers across the country.

From providing seamless internet connectivity to offering innovative solutions, Grameenphone continues to provide millions of people with access to information and opportunities, making it the cornerstone of connectivity in Bangladesh.

Nepal Telecom (Nepal):

Nepal Telecom is the leading telecom operator in Nepal, reinforcing digital and mobile connectivity in Nepal. With its countrywide GSM mobile network backed by including high-speed 4G broadband network,affordable voice, and data services, the state-backed company has consistently remained the bedrock for communication in the country. The company boasts an exhaustive range of services most notably GSM mobile service (4G LTE, 3G), international roaming, and FTTH fiber internet which have reinforced mobile connectivity in Nepal and played a profound role in the country’s digital transformation. With a commitment of continuous integration of modern services, the company provides Ntc eSIM, VoLTE, and a number of VAS services. From the remote villages to bustling cities and people visiting abroad, the company ensures that every Nepali is connected. The company boasts around 21 million customers as per the latest data by the country’s telecom regulator, NTA.

With a commitment to innovation and service excellence, Nepal Telecom continues to pave the way for connectivity and digital inclusion in Nepal, making it an indispensable part of everyday life for millions of people.

Dialog Axiata (Sri Lanka):

Dialog Axiata is a household name for telecommunication in Sri Lanka. The Axiata-owned operator is driven by the vision of a connected Sri Lanka and it’s realizing it with affordable voice and data packs. Not only that the telco has helped connect people from rural to urban areas, but also promoted digital inclusion and lead the way for a digital economy in the country. Like other top telcos in the SAARC region, Dialog Axiata also provides next-generation services such as eSIM, VoLTE, and also offer smart home services. Unlimited international roaming is provided at a convenient rate of $12 per day. As of the latest data, the telco boasts a strong network of 13.8 million users on its 4G, and 3G networks. Besides, it has also started 5G trial network being one of the few telecom companies in South Asia to do so.

Dialog brings communities together through reliable networks and innovative services. From affordable data plans to seamless voice calling, Dialog Axiata ensures everyone stays connected, promoting communication and growth in Sri Lanka and beyond. As a pioneer in connectivity, it continues to shape the digital landscape and make a significant impact on people’s lives.

Jazz (Pakistan):

Jazz is a leading telecom service provider in Pakistan and is an instrumental entity to connecting people across the country. The company serves over 70 million customers across the country with its seamless voice and reliable data services. Whether it’s a rural area or a city, Jazz mobile services have been instrumental in keeping connected over its fast and efficient network.

The company provides 4G and 3G data services. Besides, just like its South Asian peers, the telco offers eSIM, VoLTE, and international roaming services, as well as other Value-Added Services (VAS).

As a pioneer of connectivity in Pakistan, Jazz continues to promote digital connectivity, lead digital economy and uplift communities.

To sum up, telecom operators in the SAARC region play an important role in connecting people across South Asia and bridging the gap. Through their innovative services and extensive networks, they enable seamless communication and access to information for millions of people. From India to Bangladesh, Nepal to Sri Lanka, these connectivity pioneers continue to shape the telecommunications landscape, ushering in a new era of connectivity and growth. As we look to the future, their contributions will undoubtedly contribute to advancing socio-economic development and fostering closer ties among nations in the region.


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