obile handset import through legal channel for the first time crossed three crore pieces in 2016, thanks to rapidly growing demand for smartphones.
In 2016, smartphone import increased by 46 per cent to 82 lakh pieces from that of 56.27 lakh pieces in the previous year, said Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers Association at a press conference held in its office in the city on Monday.
BMPIA president Ruhul Alam Al Mahbub, general secretary Rezwanul Hoque and joint secretary Mohammed Mesbah Uddin spoke at the briefing.
Total value of the 3.10 crore imported handsets, which included feature phones and smartphones, was Tk 8,000 crore, of which Tk 6,500 crore was the cost of smartphones, said Ruhul Alam Al Mahbub.
He said that the smartphone imports rose sharply in 2016 because of expansion of internet use after the introduction of 3G service.
The importers also said of the total volume, a big chunk was imported though illegal channel as there is more than 25 per cent tax gap with the legal channel.
‘The smartphone penetration will be huge in the days ahead if government reconsiders the tax issue,’ said Mahbub.
Mahbub said currently of the total apple handsets, 90 per cent were imported illegally, while 40 per cent Samsung handsets were imported illegally.
As per the BMPIA data, Symphony leads the mobile phone market in terms of number of phones imported while Samsung is in the second position.
Samsung, however, holds the lead in terms of value of the imported smartphones.