Bangladesh increasing the cost of mobile handsets: Why?

Posted on November 26, 2011  /  0 Comments

In Sri Lanka, the cheapest Huawei Android smartphone goes for around LKR 11,900 (USD 105). This comes bundled with a special software that renders Sinhala and Tamil font, so users can read local language content. The operator who is offering this handset, Etisalat, is doing all this without any compulsion: because he wants the business.

Now imagine the following: he is not allowed to directly import, but has to buy through local vendors (makes it impossible to get good deals from Huawei, based on the amount of business Huawei does with Etisalat overall, rather than just Sri Lanka); he has to convince some official that every handset he offers has a local language keypad (if he’s unlucky, the official might insist on real keypad, and refuse the touchscreen version): and so on. What will be the outcome? More or less smartphones in the country? Cheaper or costlier smartphones?

According to BDNews24, Bangladesh seems to be going on a path that is anti-consumer and anti-Bangla, it seems:

The government will not allow foreign companies to directly import mobile-phone handsets and all sets brought in must have Bangla keypad from February, the telecom regulator says.

A guideline will be formulated ‘soon’, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) chairman Zia Ahmed told on Friday.

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