Smartphone users on the rise
Ishtiaq Husain

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The number of Smartphone users in Bangladesh has increased by 3.1 millions to 8.2 millions in 2015, according to a recent report published by Counterpoint Technology Market Research.   

Counterpoint is a fast-growing, innovative and independent market research and consulting firm. 

With almost one-fourth of population connected to internet, there is a huge opportunity for the handset players to tap first time users by offering affordable, yet quality smart devices.

Industry insiders estimate that more players will enter the handset market this year. 

Rezwanul Hoque, secretary general of Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers Association (BMPIA), said high import duty which is currently 25%, developing network infrastructure and awareness building among all parties including end users concerned are the challenges facing the regulators, network providers and original equipment manufacturers. 

He said Smartphone sale is expected to go around 8 million this year.

According to the report, the increasing penetration and declining average selling price (ASP) of the smart handsets are driving the growth of 3G while Long-Term Evaluation (LTE) or 4G is yet to go mainstream.

The declining ASP of 3G-enabled phone sets also led to decline the 2Gs market which contributed just 7.8% to the Smartphone market share in Q3 in 2015. 

The report mentioned that the advanced phone’s contribution to revenues is estimated at 60% while its volume is 23%.  

Revenues from Bangladesh mobile handset market is estimated to cross $1 billion in 2015. 

The number of feature phone users was 66 millions in 2014 while it stood at 70 millions in 2015. The handset market revenues were 840.88 millions in 2014 while it stood at 1,005.75 millions in 2015.  

The report said with 47.78% share in smart phone shipment, Symphony leads the market in Bangladesh in Q3 of 2015.

Symphony, Samsung, Lava, Walton, Maximus are the key players in the market in this region. 

The brands enjoy a good market share as well as consumers’ mind share. 

With its market growth, an intense competition for entry into mid-level Smartphone segment is expected.

Cameras are one of the key features of smart devices. Being price sensitive market, in Q3 of 2015, Bangladesh accounted for more than 64% with less than 5-megapixel Smartphone camera.

The elite class of cameras with more than 8-megapixel contributed almost 8.65% of total Smartphones shipped in Q3 of 2015. 

Although Bangladesh handset market is not as crowded as the rest of Asian markets, the inability to understand and cater for local consumers along with regulatory barriers makes it difficult for some of the global players to enter or extend their reach into the Bangladesh market.

The barriers help establish and emerge local players to grow faster than the international brands, using their local market knowledge, relationships and cost-effectiveness. 

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