Country overview: Bangladesh
Value added services key to next phase of mobile growth
In the Mobile for Development (M4D) Impact country overview series, we analyse the evolution and outlook of national mobile markets in the developing world. Each report covers a single country, combining data analysis with on-the-ground interviews to understand how the market has developed and what the future holds. Covering themes of operator growth and competition dynamics, it provides analysis of indicators affecting adoption and usage, such as network coverage and investment, handsets, mobile data and value added services (VAS).
We particularly focus on operator attitudes to investing in VAS that aim to improve lives in verticals such as health, education and finance. These M4D VAS are becoming increasingly important for operators in emerging markets, enabling them to forge customer loyalty with mid and low-income, previously unconnected, subscribers. With the projected rise in the number of people using mobile data over the next five years, forming such relationships will be key to strengthening operators’ place in the data value chain.
This country overview assesses Bangladesh, one of the most populous and most densely populated countries in the world. Despite being ranked as a low income country, over 50% of the adult population subscribes to mobile services and it has outpaced all its peers in terms of network coverage.
Mobile operators in Bangladesh are looking to innovative VAS to remain competitive and respond to the slowing growth in core mobile services. Services that add value to the livelihoods of the consumer are more likely to support these goals. While we expect mobile operators to continue to be involved in leading commercial VAS services, there is still an opportunity for public and private investment in providing seed capital for the innovation that is not yet ‘market-led’, with a key role for government in facilitating this process.