The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) will implement a ban on manufacturing and importing 3G devices in a bid to drive smartphone adoption.
The Dhaka Tribune reported that the BTRC’s ban will come into force from 1st January 2023, as the regulator believes that use of 3G-only devices is slowing the spread of 4G networks in Bangladesh. BTRC data indicated that just a few thousand 3G devices were manufactured in Bangladesh this year – meaning local manufacture has effectively ceased – but some importers are still shipping them into the country.
However, local firms are also reducing their production of smartphones while increasing their manufacture of feature phones despite the push towards 4G and 5G. The Tribune noted that of all handsets manufactured in Bangladesh, 30.40% are smartphones while 69.60% are feature phones. During June 2022, this translated respectively to 880,000 4G/5G devices and 2.15 million 2G feature phones.
Figures from GSMA Intelligence placed Bangladesh’s total mobile users at 182 million at end-June 2022, of which almost half were feature phone users. The country has slightly more 2G connections than 4G connections – 75 million compared to 73.5 million. Meanwhile, 3G connections stood at 33.5 million at the end of Q2 2022.