Bangladesh's six cell phone companies added 10.27 million new subscribers in 2008, posting an impressive 30 percent growth compared to 2007, a spokesman of the country's telecom regulatory commission said on Thursday.
Chief media consultant of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Abbas Faruk told Xinhua on Thursday that by the end of 2008 the total number of mobile subscribers reached 44.64 million out of a population of 144 million.
The number was 34.37 million at the end of 2007 recording a 62 percent growth compared to that in 2006.
Faruk said the growth last year came as Bangladesh's six cell phone operators explored new markets at remote areas of the country through offering attractive packages like reducing call rates.
"Increased demand for mobile phones, as well as prompt service from operators, is also the key driver of booming growth in the sector," Faruk said.
He said significant fall in handset prices and lower duties and connection fees in the last few years enabled many low-income people to buy mobile phones.
Of the total subscriptions in 2008, according to the BTRC statistics, Bangladesh's largest mobile phone company Grameenphone raised its subscriber base to 20.99 million in 2008 from 16.48 million in 2007.
The second largest operator Banglalink added 3.25 million customers in 2008 to 10.33 million, while the third largest AKTEL added 1.8 million customers to 8.20 million.
Faruk said there are still huge potentials to bring more people under the net of mobile phone subscription if the operators can offer more impressive packages for those people living in the country's hinterlands.
He said Bangladesh's nearly 3.4 billion U.S. dollars mobile industry directly employs more than 15,000 people and indirectly creates jobs for about 650,000 people.