56pc mobile use by year-end: Study
Author / Source : STAFF REPORTER
DHAKA, NOV 11: Backed by a large room for growth in rural areas, mobile phone penetration in the country is expected to reach 56 per cent at the end of 2011, reveals a recent study. The Bangladesh Telecommunications Report Q3 2011, prepared by Business Monitor International (BMI), shows 72.99 million active subscription base in 2010, registering a 44 per cent penetration rate.
“With 75 per cent of Bangladesh’s population residing in rural areas and with more than 30 per cent of the population young, this offers substantial room for additional growth,” the report pointed out.
The BMI report forecast 56 per cent penetration rate for 2011, following further strong double digit growth before ending 2015 on almost 118 per cent.
Until September 2011, the country’s cell phone subscription reached 80.911 million, according to data compiled by BTRC, the regulator for telecommunications.
The report also pointed to no signs of 3G service development in the country’s telecom sector, although operators continue investments in developing value-added services.
The latest are mobile banking services, provided by Banglalink and Citycell for up to nine banks in Bangladesh. Meanwhile, Grameenphone launched its web browsing service Opera Mini in April 2011, offering mobile internet services, BMI reports.
According to the report, despite apparent room for growth, competition among the industry’s six operators remains tough. This has been clearly demonstrated by the upcoming renewal of 2G operation licences that got delayed over court order and could lead to higher fees being paid. The result would see many operators increasing their price plans to end users which could place them at a disadvantage to operators such as Airtel, which does not have to renew its licence until 2020, and thereby continue to offer competitively priced tariffs.
The country rose once again in this quarter’s (3Q) BMI Asia Pacific Business Environment Ratings table to 11th place from 13th, as a result of a fall in the scores of the Philippines and Pakistan.
Bangladesh, although retaining an Industry Rewards score comparable to Singapore, it requires greater investment in its telecoms industry to attract greater foreign direct investment. It continues to push for the digitalisation of its ICT services although this will be insufficient if prices do not also decrease at the same time, the BMI report said further.
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