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Citycell[3] (Bengali: সিটিসেল; Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Limited) was the oldest mobile operator of Bangladesh. It was the only mobile operator in the country using CDMA and EVDO technology. As of August 2016, Citycell's total mobile subscriber base was 0.142 million.[4] Citycell is currently owned by SingTel (44.54%), Pacific Motors (37.95%) and Far East Telecom (17.51%). It is the smallest mobile operator of Bangladesh in terms of subscribers. It was shut down due to failure of paying dues as ordered by the High Court by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) in 2016.[5]

Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Limited
Private Limited
Defunct20 October 2016[1]
Headquarters8th Floor Pacific Center, 14, Mohakhali C/A, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Area served
Key people
  • Mehboob Chowdhury (CEO)
  • David Lee (COO)
ProductsTelephony, CDMA, EVDO
BrandsCitycell, Zoom Ultra
ParentPacific Motors Limited (37.95%)
Far East Telecom Limited (17.51%)
SingTel Asia Pacific Investments Pte Ltd. (44.54%)[2]



Previous Citycell logo.

In 1989 Bangladesh Telecom Limited (BTL) was awarded a license to operate cellular, paging, and other wireless communication networks. Then in 1990 Hutchison Bangladesh Telecom Limited (HBTL) was incorporated in Bangladesh as a joint venture between BTL and Hutchison Telecommunications (Bangladesh) Limited. HBTL began commercial operation in Dhaka using the AMPS mobile technology in 1993 and became the 2nd cellular operator in South Asia (after Sri Lanka's Celltell, established on 1989). Later that year Pacific Motors bought 50% of BTL. By 1996 HBTL was renamed as Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Limited (PBTL) and launched the brand name 'Citycell Digital' to market its cellular products.

By the end of 2007 Citycell had refurbished its old brand identity and introduced a new logo and corporate identity; the new logo is very reminiscent of the old logo. However the slogan "because we care" has remained unchanged.

In early 2010 Citycell's senior management was reshuffled. A new CEO, Mehboob Chowdhury was brought in as well as a COO, David Lee. In February Chowdhury took office. He is an experienced executive, as he has had involvement with Aktel (now Robi), Warid (Now Airtel), Banglalink (Chief Commercial Officer 2005-2006) and Grameenphone (Director of Sales and Marketing 1998-2005)

On 20 October 2016, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission suspended the spectrum allocation of Citycell due to huge amount of dues. But on 3 November 2016, the Supreme Court of Bangladesh directed the BTRC to reinstate its spectrum and on 6 November 2016, BTRC returned the suspended spectrum to Citycell.[6]

Numbering schemeEdit

Citycell uses the following numbering scheme for its subscribers:

+88 011 N1N2N3N4N5N6N7N8
where, 880 is the International Subscriber Dialing Code for Bangladesh and is needed only in case of dialing from outside Bangladesh.

11 is the prefix for Citycell as allocated by the government of Bangladesh. Omitting +880 will require to use 0 in place of it instead to represent local call, hence 011 is the general prefix.

The number N1 to N8 is the subscriber number.

Products offeredEdit

Citycell offers both prepaid and postpaid plans. Since Citycell operates in CDMA technology, it offers R-UIMs instead of SIMs. Currently it only sells ZTE S183 handset at BDT 2000.


Citycell used to offer nine different prepaid plans. Citycell started offering prepaid plans from 2003. It was the first to offer a prepaid plan with BTTB connectivity in the same year. In 2005, it launched the Aalap Call Me plan- the first phone plan with negative tariff in the country.[citation needed] In the plan, customers got credit added to their balance when they received calls from other Citycell subscribers. In the same year, Citycell launched Aalap Super plan. Subscribers of this plan could make free calls to other Citycell subscribers during late night hours. This espoused numerous copycat products from its competitors. Later that year the regulator BTRC ordered all phone companies to cease offering free call facility. In 2006, Citycell launched Hello 0123 plan. The name 0123 signified tariff of Tk 0 for calls to one Citycell number of the subscriber's choice, Tk 1 for calls to two other Citycell numbers, Tk 2 for calls to all other Citycell numbers and Tk. 3 for calls to all other networks. This plan was followed up with a string of other spinoff plans that continued into 2007.


The postpaid plan was branded as Citycell One. The Postpaid subscribers enjoy 4 FnF numbers to other operators, 30 sec pulse applicable for all outgoing, Zoom Data service etc. in additional. Besides, two newly launched postpaid plans are available.

In Dhaka International Trade fair 2009, Citycell Introduced a postpaid service called VOICE-DATA plan with cheaper tariff voice call and sms on any operator and BTTB (NWD) and 0.25 Tk/minute voice call and sms on any Citycell Number.

Zoom UltraEdit

Zoom Ultra is a data plan where the customer receives an internet dongle to surf the web wherever Citycell has coverage. Zoom Ultra comes with a choice of prepaid or postpaid. Zoom came with either one of two MODEMs, Huawei EC321 or ZTE MG880+. Zoom Ultra uses better technology, as it uses EV-DO technology. ZTE AC782 or Tianjian E618 is the dongle given with Zoom Ultra. Huawei EC5321 router is also offered for Zoom Ultra service. Zoom Ultra provides download speeds up to 512kbit/s.

Customer care centerEdit

There are 6 Customer care centers and 500 Customer care Points scattered around the country.[citation needed]

Criticism and penaltyEdit

Citycell has been fined BDT 1.5 billion (150 crore) by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission for its involvement in illegal VoIP or international call termination.

Citycell's involvement in illegal VoIP, was discovered in May 2007 during a raid in the company's Mohakhali office by the BTRC.[7] Mohammad Abdul Kaium from Jagannath University had investigated what was the reason behind failure of citycell and found out its weak networking and using illegal VoIP that is not valid for Mobile operators of Bangladesh.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Citycell switched off". The Daily Star. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Citycell: Nothing happened for licence cancelling". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  3. ^ " Parking Page for". Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  4. ^ "BTRC Report". The Daily Star. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  5. ^ "BTRC shuts down Citycell | Dhaka Tribune". Dhaka Tribune. 20 October 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Citycell stays for now".
  7. ^ " Home of Bangladesh". Retrieved 13 December 2016.

External linksEdit