Smartphone production in the country declined for the month of September while feature phone manufacturing increased as the nation prepares to embrace the 5G era.
The Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission (BTRC) released statistics in this regard, which showed a 25% drop in the production of domestic mobile phone manufacturers in September.
The total number of phones manufactured in August was 2.97 million, but according to BTRC data, that number dropped to 2.27 million in September.
In September, the country’s 4G smartphone production reached 582,000 units, while 5G production reached 5,000 units.
In August, 823,000 units of 4G phones and 3,000 units of 5G phones were produced domestically.
On the other hand, feature phone production rose to 73.62% of the total in September from 72.17% in the previous month, and production of second generation or feature phones reached 1.64 million units in the same month.
Domestic manufacturers stopped producing 3G phones in May, as the telecom regulator earlier decided to ban the import, assembly and manufacture of 3G devices only to promote the widespread adoption of smartphones as a support mechanism for the country’s digital transformation.
Despite the increase in feature phone production, total phone production nearly halved in nine months — from 4.45 million units in January to 2.27 million units in September, according to BTRC monthly data.
Industry insiders and manufacturers seem to be split on factors leading to the decline.
While manufacturers cited rising inflation and dollar prices as the reason for the decline in phone manufacturing, experts pointed to the quality of domestic devices behind the decline.
Local players and industry insiders said that rising dollar prices and rising inflation have prompted people to cut spending, affecting their purchasing power.
According to the domestic mobile device maker and assembler, their sales fell more than 20% during the first half of this year.
Domestic smartphone production was down nearly 50% month over month in May compared to April earlier this year.
This, according to some manufacturers, is a precedent for the country’s economic downturn.
In July, Walton Mobile COO Md Abu Jahid told the Dhaka Tribune that production had not gone down that much, but rather sales had gone down.
It happened with the rise in the prices of mobile phones due to inflation and the rise in the prices of raw materials, shipping costs and dollar prices which led to an increase in production costs.
He added that Walton’s production of mobile phones is normal.
Pickaboo.com co-founder and CEO Morin Talukder echoed the same sentiments.
“During the first half of the year, smartphone prices rose twice. In May, the price rose by 8-10% to the dollar rate, while in June, the price was raised again to include the VAT stage.
“We see that the demand for smartphones has fallen by 35-40% in the last two or three months with sales dropping significantly even with Eid, sales during the festive season have not been satisfactory – despite massive discounts and offering EMIs for purchases,” he said. Peekaboo top brass too.
However, according to the director of the Bangladesh Policy Research Institute (PRI), Dr. Muhammad Abdul Razak said that the downward trend may not only be related to the economic situation.
The researcher has reportedly stated that the reason for this is the poor quality of the phone from local manufacturers.
As of January 2021, domestic manufacturers have fulfilled nearly 80% of the country’s mobile phone requirements, creating more than 15,000 jobs.
There are currently 15 companies with licenses to manufacture mobile phones. These include – Walton Digi-tech Industries Ltd, Fair Electronics (Samsung), Edison Industries (Symphony), Alamin and Brothers (5 Star), Carlcare Technology BD Ltd (itel and Techno), Anira International (Yunstar) , Best Taicool Enterprise Ltd (Vivo), Grameen Distribution (Lava), Banglatrinic Technology (DTC), Benley Electronic Enterprise (Oppo), Okay Mobile and Mycel Technology.
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