Mobile operators poised for Eid festivity

22 08 2009

Some mobile operators have introduced lucrative promotions targeting Ramadan and the Eid to rope in more customers.

Some other operators are preparing to come with specials. Banglalink has already introduced their offers for the season, while Grameenphone, Aktel, Warid, Citycell and TeleTalk officials said their offers would come up in a week.

Banglalink has announced 50 percent bonus talk-time on recharge and 300 percent bonus on reactivation, and reset SMS at Tk 0.50, down from Tk 1.

Lower tariffs, free SMS, cheaper new connections and bonus talk time are the most common offers by the operators.

Mobile use in Bangladesh peaks during Eid. The abnormally high use of the mobile also sometimes leads to network disruptions.

“The number of SMS and voice calls usually jump by more than 30 percent in the first week of Ramadan, while numbers sometimes cross network capacities during Eid,” said Zakiul Islam, president of Association of Mobile Telecom Operators Bangladesh (AMTOB).

Calls made during Eid and Ramadan are mostly diverted to rural areas as people mostly visit their extended families outside Dhaka, said Rubaba Dowla, chief communication officer of Grameenphone. “We experience complete network usage during festivals.”

Bangladesh’s mobile market boost up during any festival time as mobile now is not only communication device; it’s a gift item as well.

The growth in mobile usage is mainly based on the rise in the use of value added services during this season. Ring tones, games, SMS (short message service), MMS (multimedia messaging service), and the latest, call block and voice chat, are the most popular services among customers.

Subscriptions to religious content increase during Ramadan, said Md Sharif Uddin, chief technical officer of Inforev Ltd, a local content developer.

“Customers download more religious items during Ramadan and Eid than any other time,” he said. “While others content downloads, like songs, decreases during the holy month of Ramadan.”

The six mobile operators are now serving around 48 million people in Bangladesh. The monthly average usage by a single customer is only Tk 150. On an average, 48 mobile users generate more than 60 lakh SMSs a day, while during the Eid week, usage doubles.

According to the Bangladesh Mobile Phone Load Traders Association (BMPLTA), people traditionally load more money into their mobiles during Eid.

A total of 25 lakh retailers load credit for 48 crore mobile phone users, on behalf of the six mobile operators. If a retailer loads Tk 2,000 a day on average, figures double during Eid, said Md Aminul Islam, president of BMPLTA.

Rubaba noticed the issues over maintaining network quality during such times of high usage. She said along with proving to be a good business case, a challenge remains.

“We always try to provide better services during such special times, so that none of our customers shift to other operators,” she said. (source)