June 9, 2009

Bangladesh: More Connected Than Ever

Kashif Choudhury -- Good news!! The government is likely to reduce the tax on SIM (Subscribers' Identification Module) card to below Tk 500 from existing Tk 800 to help the industry recover from its sluggish growth. It might make the announcement in the upcoming budget, on June 11, against the backdrop of repeated plea of the telecom companies to salvage the sector. That means you will be able to buy sim cards for a much lower price.

The growth rate of mobile phone business dropped to 30 per cent in 2008 from 103 per cent in 2006. It was 62 per cent in 2007. Industry insiders claim that if growth can be sustained, the penetration rate (the number of people with access to mobiles) will reach 55 percent. That might not sound like much, but for a developing country like ours, where other sectors struggle, this figure is astonishing. And it might come as a surprise that even though the days of 25 paisa per minute are gone, call rates in our country are still one of the lowest in the world.

The mobile sector can help the impoverished in our country get out of the vicious cycle of poverty. Grameenphone has already set up a lot of information centres around the country that have access to the internet. Farmers are already using accessible mobile networks to be more productive and increase their profits. We can only hope that as time passes, these services become more accessible to the public.

With talks of Banglalink and Aktel merging, and new offers springing up from all of the operators, it seems that even if we are not able to eat three times a day, we'll be able to stay in touch with our loved ones and stay connected!!!

You are welcome to post your opinions in the comments section.


amar11372 said...

Are you sure the Govt is going to lower the SIM tax, because I just read on the newspaper that NBR isn't going to allow that, since it will cause a drastic fall in revenue.

Hamidur said...

In my earlier post, I mentioned about BTRC chairman comments about internet users VAT from 15% to zero percent. I also suggested to reduce TAX on mobile sim for operator to survive in another post. But I am not aware of any proposal from government is already made or not. Can you provide me from where you got the information?
Please mention your reference also regarding this issue.

Mohammad Kashif Choudhury said...

I am very Sorry about not referencing my sources. It was on the business section of Daily Star about a couple of days back.
You can also find a related article at the link.


I also used the words 'likely' to imply that this could change. It has to be understood that this is pre budget talk. Its liable to change. I personally haven't read anything like this yet, so if you can, please point me towards an article.
Thank you for your comments. Your involvement is always welcome.

amar11372 said...

Haha, I am too lazy to find the link but I read it few days ago on The Daily Star newspaper. Anyways after tomorrows budget everything should become clear and end all speculations.

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