Country's mobile phone users ready for 3G service, Ericson study says


The mobile phone users of the country are ready for third generation (3G) service thanks to significant growth of the internet users in urban area to 20 per cent by 2011 up from 3 per cent in 2007.

Global technology vendor Ericson focused the issue on Thursday after a study on Bangladesh telecom consumer market for last five years in a bid to understand the fundamental values and attitudes of the country`s people to Information Communication Technology (ICT).

The study found that only 58 per cent urban mobile consumers are aware of internet connectivity while the per cent is 39 in rural areas. Among the urban people, 17 per cent mobile subscribers use internet for social network while 18 per cent browse internet for different purposes.

According to the telecom regulator data, nearly 30 million mobile consumers use internet in their handsets. The reduction in call tariffs and an increase in the number of "Friends and Family" offerings are among the contributing factors to increased usage, the Ericson study indicated.

Vishnu Singh, Regional Head of ConsumerLab for Ericsson in the Southeast Asia and Oceania region, unveiled the report through a video conference held at its Dhaka office on Thursday.

Mr Singh also highlights that the country is not enjoying all the benefits that connectivity can bring due to lack of access options, affordability issues, and lack of awareness on the benefits of Internet access.

However, the study shows that the country's mobile communications sector has made significant progress both in the voice and data market during the last five years from 2007 to 2011 despite having different barriers.

According to the report, 94 per cent mobile users have their own handsets while 5 per cent use mobile service by sharing and 33 per cent have more than one handset and those who have more than one SIM card they use mostly dual SIM enabled handsets.

Of the mobile users, 81 per cent use one SIM while 15 per cent 2 SIMs and 4 per cent 3 SIMs, the study mentioned and added that the number of successful call is 71 while unsuccessful call number is 12 and the number of miss call is 17.

The Ericson official Mr Singh said they found the same trend of mobile users in India and Pakistan but the rate is highest in Bangladesh comparatively.

He added that there is an increasing need for connectivity among Bangladeshis, and it points to the huge potential for 3G to redefine the telecommunications landscape.

The ConsumerLab report also shows that improving the customer experience, together with attractive mobile packages, will ensure continuous growth of mobile data use.

"As the market is maturing, service providers need to have a deeper sense of understanding of their customers' expectations and to deliver on those expectations. Delighting customers will be the key to market differentiation," Singh says.

Singh also stresses that "educating consumers on the benefits that mobile broadband can bring will be the key. Broadband has the power to spur economic growth by creating efficiency for society, businesses and consumers. It opens up possibilities for more advanced online services, smarter utility services, telecommuting and telepresence."

Bangladesh operators would also need to have their strategy in place to deal with the explosive growth of smart phones and the demand that they place on mobile networks.

"We've seen this growth worldwide, and we need to be prepared to handle the surge in traffic as smart phones become increasingly popular in Bangladesh," Singh states.



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