Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- Grameenphone launched Sunday its 3G (third generation) network at Bashundhara in the capital Dhaka, marking the beginning of the previously announced national roll-out of 3G services.

Posts and Telecommunications Minister Advocate Sahara Khatun, MP, inaugurated the 3G network together with Jon Fredrik Baksaas, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Telenor Group and Vivek Sood, CEO of Grameenphone at its headquarter GP House in the city on Sunday.

Speaking on the occasion, Sahara Khatun thanked the Grameenphone for taking initiative to roll-out 3G early.  "I hope that Grameenphone will expand 3G services around the country the way it had taken mobile telephony to people of this country.”

For the time being, the network will be used by Grameenphone employees and some selected customers, who are expected to give valuable feedback ahead of the commercial launch.

CEO of Telenor Group, Grameenphone's parent company, Jon Fredrik Baksaas said Grameenphone has been a long-term contributor to the development of Bangladesh through its 16 years of operation.

"With 3G, Grameenphone is taking an important step in its mission to help the country move ahead by providing the opportunities of internet access for all Bangladeshis," he added.

Grameenphone CEO Vivek Sood said 3G will start in Dhaka and Chittagong within October and all the 68 districts will receive it within this year or at the start of the next year.

Grameenphone acquired 10 MHz of 3G-spectrum in an auction arranged by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) recently, more than any other participating operator.

The spectrum, which is part of the 2100 MHz-band, will enable the roll out of a nationwide network with enhanced capacity up 3.9G and instant mobile internet access for all customers.

Post and Telecommunication secretary Abubakar Siddique, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) acting chairman Abdus Samad, Norwegian Ambassador to Bangladesh Ragne Birte Lund and Chairman of Grameenphone Board Sigve Brekke, among others, were present.

BBN/SSR/AD-30Sept13-9:59 am (BST)