Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/06/2013 -- Despite Q412 seeing the first net subscription loss since Q407, we believe Bangladesh's telecommunications market harbours significant growth potential. This is because losses in Q412 relate specifically to the ban on unregistered prepaid SIMs, whereas medium-term growth potential is derived from the low penetration rates in telecoms markets. A further positive is found in the move to issue 3G licences, with the auction set to commence in June 2013. Mobile operators so far have been able to only offer basic 2G services, but the issuance of licences to create a competitive 3G market will boost the mobile and broadband markets thereby spurring growth and investment in industries that require reliable highspeed internet connectivity.
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- The ban on unregistered prepaid SIMs, introduced in October 2012, resulted in a net subscription loss of 729,000 for the mobile market in Q412. Total subscriptions fell to 107.317mn, equal to penetration of 70.4%.
- BTRC data show that broadband remained strong through to February 2013, and growth is expected to receive a boost once 3G services begin to be rolled out more widely.
- Despite subscription discounting in Q412 ARPUs continued to decline. The market average blended ARPU fell to BDT159 in Q412 (average of the top three operators) owing to the prevalence of prepaid subscriptions.
Key Trends And Developments
The recent developments that could have the most far reaching impact on the Bangladeshi telecoms market are related to the regulator. In February 2013 the BTRC invited applications for four 2,100MHz 3G mobile licences - set to be auctioned from late June 2013. This will see competition created in wireless data services (state-owned TeleTalk is the only operator currently authorised for 3G development). Wireless data services will enable operators to promote smartphones as well as offer a range of value-added services. Competition from wireless services should also act as a catalyst to development of the wider broadband market.
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