It has been several years since 3G was introduced in Bangladesh. Recently, the fourth-generation network was introduced. But the use of smartphones did not increase much over the last two years.
Eight million smartphones were imported in 2017, according to Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers’ Association (BMPIA). The same number of smartphones was imported in 2016.
Smartphone’s growth rate was just 1% while feature phones grew by 14%, the importers said. The smartphone market’s growth rate came down to 1% in 2017 from 37% the previous year. The overall growth of the country’s mobile phone market is 11%.
According to a BMPIA report, 26 million feature phones were imported last year, three million more than the year before.
However, the demand for smartphones has begun to increase since the launching of 4G. Importers hope that the smartphone market will grow bigger in size than feature phones by the end of this year.
Last year, Bangladesh imported 34 million mobile phones. The BMPIA report said three million more mobile phones were imported last year than 2016.
Though Symphony was on top of the list in terms of sales of smartphones and feature phones, Samsung phones were well ahead with the highest market share in terms of smartphone sale.
In terms of smartphone sale in 2017, Samsung’s share was 26%, Symphony 21%, Huawei 13%, Oppo 10%, Walton 6%, Lava 5%, Xiaomi 4%, Itel and Nokia 3% and other brands 9%.
Former BMPIA general secretary Rezwanul Haque said the same quantity of smartphones was sold for two consecutive years due to a number of reasons. Additional import tax was one of the main reasons.
“That’s why there was no growth of cheaper smartphones. Besides, more smartphones are being imported through illegal ways, which impedes legal import. So, the smartphones which came through the grey market have not been enlisted as ‘originals’.”
Rezwan hoped the smartphone sales will hit records this year.
Mobile phone industry insiders blamed price and an additional tax for the slow growth of the smartphone market. If the government withdraws the additional tax from mobile phones in the upcoming budget, the price of smartphones will decrease and the market will grow as well, they said.
Xiaomi distributor- SEBL Chief Executive Officer Dewan Kanan said: “According to the report, Xiaomi’s position is fairly accurate. We hope the situation will improve by the end of this year. Although the report showed statistics of one year, we did business in the last five months of 2017.
“However, with the launch of 4G, the demand for smartphones has risen. We hope this will help boost the growth.”
This article was first published on banglatribune.com