Bangladesh ranks low in South Asia mobile use

October 26, 2009

Bangladesh’s mobile penetration rate stood at 28 percent in 2008 lagging behind war-ravaged Afghanistan’s 29 percent in South Asia, according to a regional report.
“Of course, the fact that Afghanistan is ahead of Bangladesh in mobile penetration should cause all sorts of palpitations in government offices in Dhaka,” said the report tilted ‘Telecom Access Rankings in South Asia’.
LIRNEasia posted the report Saturday on its website based on statistics of UN International Telecommunication Union.
LIRNEasia is an ICT policy and regulation think tank active across Asia Pacific.
Bangladesh was one of the earliest in South Asia to adopt mobile and is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.
“How the country was overtaken by Afghanistan, a war-torn country with difficult terrain, should cause serious re-examination of policies such as the Tk 800 SIM (subscriber identity module) tax,” the report said.
Pakistan’s surge to overtake Sri Lanka has petered out, leaving the Maldives (143 active SIMs/100 people) as the undisputed leader in mobile connectivity and Sri Lanka second with 52 SIMs per 100 people.
Both Pakistan (50/100) and Bhutan (37/100) are ahead of India (29/100) in mobile. “This shows that India cannot afford to let up the pace of 10 million connections a month for some time. If it does, it might be overtaken by Afghanistan (29/100) and even Bangladesh (28/100),” the report said.
On the fixed side, assisted by CDMA (code division multiple access) phones that are counted as fixed, Sri Lanka is the leader (17 connections per 100 people), followed by the Maldives (15 per 100).
In the fixed ranking, Afghanistan is occupying the cellar (0.37/100 people) behind Bangladesh (0.84/100), while Pakistan (2.5/100) is behind Nepal (2.8/100).
India is the only country showing negative growth (-2 percent) in fixed side over the 2003-2008 period.
From 2003 to 2008, the number of active SIMs has increased by over 12 times, while the number of fixed connections has decreased marginally.
The negative growth in India is wiping out all the gains in the rest of South Asia.

Courtesy of The Daily Star

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