Growth in mobile phone connections to a 3-year high in 2021

A rickshaw driver talks on his mobile phone while waiting for passengers in Dhaka on January 4. — AFP photo.

The number of mobile phone connections grew by more than a crore in the last calendar year 2021, the highest in three years, as people’s reliance on mobile phone and internet connectivity surged after the Covid epidemic.

Data from the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission showed that the number of active mobile phone connections rose to 18.1 crore at the end of December 2021 from 17.01 crore a year ago.

In 2021, the number of active mobile phone connections of the four mobile operators increased by 1.09 crore.

The increase was the highest after connections from telecom operators increased by 1.19 crore in 2018.

Cellphone carriers said people’s adoption of mobile phone devices and internet services has reached a new dimension after the coronavirus outbreak.

From making phone calls to attending meetings, mobile phone connections allow tech-savvy users to do all their daily activities based on mobile phone connections.

Even though the number of mobile phone connections has reached more than 18 crores, which is almost the same total population of the country, the number of connections would still increase as the country enters the era of Internet of Things.

The Internet of Things is a concept of connecting and controlling many home appliances with the Internet, including the Internet of mobile phones.

As a result, the number of mobile phone connections could experience significant growth in the days to come.

The launch of 5G or fifth-generation mobile phone services can play a catalytic role in accelerating the growth of mobile phone connections.

Currently, mobile phone penetration in Bangladesh is over 105% and it will increase further as it has happened in other countries.

In many countries, mobile phone penetration has exceeded more than 300% of their population. According to the current rules, an individual can have 20 SIM cards against his national identification number.

According to BTRC statistics till November 2021, mobile operators provide 4G services over 6.91 crore mobile connections and provide 3G services over 3.62 crore mobile connections.

Public telecom operator Teletalk has planned to roll out 5G service on a limited scale in the country by 2022 under a Tk 2,204.39 crore government project.

So far, 175 telecom operators in different countries and regions have launched the service and are gradually expanding the scope of the service.

Of the 18.1 crore active mobile phone connections in the country, the major mobile operator Grameenphone has 8.35 crore connections, accounting for 46.11% market share.

The number of connections of the operator increased by 44.23 lakh in 2021.

Robi, Banglalink and Teletalk added 27.69 lakh, 19.48 lakh and 17.43 lakh customers respectively in 2021. With this addition, the number of active connections of Robi, Banglalink and Teletalk reached 5.37 crore, 3.72 crore and 66.7 lakh respectively.

Apart from mobile phone connections, internet connections in the country increased by 1.2 crore to reach 12.38 crore at the end of 2021.

Among the users, 11.73 crore connections are mobile based and the other 1.01 crore connections are broadband and PSTN based.

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