- Digital Bangladesh

Digital greetings boost cell phone business

B1_77E8715Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina first used the IVR to congratulate the countrymen and send greetings on the occasion of Victory Day last year

It is not new that Eid or Puja greetings are conveyed to near and dear ones by sending mobile phone SMS. But these days wishes are not limited to sending only text messages, rather a new system is also getting popular – IVR or interactive voice response.

Mainly political campaigners and corporate advertisers are using IVR or voice message in promotional activities. Political figures use the system to send their own voice to convey a message to the voters.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina first used the IVR to congratulate the countrymen and send greetings on the occasion of Victory Day last year.

Former State Minister for Home Affairs Md Shamsul Haque Tuku also used voice message to his voters during last electoral campaign.

“It made my campaign easier and my voice reached to more people,” he told the Dhaka Tribune, adding that he would continue using the system.

Political figures are also the main users of text message to send Eid and Puja greetings to their voters.

As Durga Puja has already begun and Eid-ul-Azha is only days away, flow of SMS has increased enormously.

According to the market sources, millions of SMS are delivered on several occasions like Eid, New Year and Durga Puja every year.

The use of SMS increased around 30% last Eid-ul-Fitr compared to last year.

October to March is a key period for sending high number of SMS as different occasions like elections and AGM of different companies are held during the months.

“SMS brings crores of taka every day during Eid for mobile phone operators, and the business is growing moderately,” said Fahim Ahmed, a senior executive of Bulk SMS BD.

Bulk SMS BD is a wholesale provider of SMS service. It sells the service mainly to some large and permanent companies. It also sells the service to other operators also. The company takes a charge of roughly Tk0.50 per SMS.

Bulk SMS BD has also some corporate clients. Fahim Ahmed, however, said mainly political personalities take the lead in using SMS to send greetings during Eid.

Earlier, the bulk SMS service was dependent on the mobile phone operators, but now the SMS service providers use IP (internet protocol) telephony services as it’s is cheaper than the mobile SMS.

Wintel Limited, a pioneer in the business and leader in providing mobile phone’s value added service in Bangladesh, has also a working partnership with the international services.

“We achieved 30% market growth this year compared to previous year’s Eid,” said Shahed Ahmed, a senior executive of the Wintel.

He said they said some leading companies like Diamond World send 10 lakh promotional SMS every month.

Banks also use SMS system, mostly dependent on their own arrangment.

Bangladesh’s Wintel is working with all the major telecom operators in the Middle East countries – KSA, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and UAE.

Requesting anonymity an owner of a firm said they send SMS to different mobile phone numbers collected from top-up outlets

Connect Bangladesh is a newly launched SMS company which offers Tk0.70 price for an SMS.

“Currently we are delivering around 15,000 to 20,000 text messages on an average every day during usual time. But during occasions, the number increases by four to five times,” said Md Arifur Rahaman, an executive of Connect Bangladesh.

Bulk SMS and IVR services are increasingly being used for marketing and promotional campaigns of different products.

Some companies use the service also to collect information about clients’ profile like level of education, type of profession and range of income.

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