Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has initiated a move to set up a full-fledged mobile handset testing laboratory in the country with a view to encouraging the emerging local mobile handset manufacturing industry.
As part of the move, the BTRC department concerned is working to outline a proposal in this regard to get approval from the commission, sources said.
Officials of the commission has already discussed the issue with the posts, telecommunications and information technology minister Mustafa Jabbar informally and managed to get positive response from the minister.
Currently, BTRC conducts on random basis a very few tests of mobile handsets which are assembled in Bangladesh but mobile handset manufacturing and assembling entities are supposed to get certificate from the internationally accepted testing laboratories.
The commission should have a full-fledged testing lab in line with the government’s move to promote mobile handset manufacturing and assembling plants in Bangladesh in different way including providing tax rebate and subsidy on export of handsets to be assembled in Bangladesh, an official of the commission told New Age last week.
To encourage local handset assembling industry, the government in the fiscal budget fiscal of 2017-2018 has reduced customs duty on mobile parts by 24 percentage points to 1 per cent and doubled the tax on handset imports to 10 per cent.
Then again in the fiscal year 2018-2019, the government imposed 2 per cent surcharge on imports of mobile handsets and reduced import duty on raw materials for handset manufacturing.
Establishing a full-fledged handset testing laboratory would not only help the government to regulate the sector but also reduce mobile phone assembling or manufacturing entities’ hassle in availing approval from internationally accepted labs for accreditation by sending handsets to them.
Apart from that, establishing an internationally accepted mobile handset lab in Bangladesh would also be helpful as the country’s mobile handset manufacturers and assemblers would subsequently move on to export products from Bangladesh.
The commission would gradually take approval from the authorities concerned in the export destination countries so that the lab’s accreditation becomes valuable for the handset manufacturers.
Setting up such a testing laboratory would also help saving foreign currencies as it requires around $1,000 per handset model to be tested in an internationally accepted accreditation firm.
Before marketing of any handset it requires to go through a range of test including mobile application testing, hardware testing, battery (charging) testing, signal receiving, network testing, protocol testing, mobile games testing, mobile software compatibility testing and its requires wide range of equipment to conduct such tests.
BTRC, in line with the government’s policy to help develop local manufacturing industry, issued a policy allowing assembling and manufacturing of mobile handsets in the country on August 30, 2017.
Five entities have so far got approval from the government for setting up mobile handset assembling plants in Bangladesh with the latest one — Al Amin Brothers, a local mobile handset importer.
Four other licensees are: local handset manufacturers Walton, Symphony and I-Tel and global tech leader Samsung.
A number of other companies are in the pipeline for receiving approval from the government.
As per the available data, mobile importers bring 2.50-3 crore mobile handsets to the country in a year through legal channel to meet a growing demand for the handsets from the country’s 15.41 crore mobile phone users.
Besides, another 50 lakh mobile phones enter in the country annually through illegal channel.
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