Aamra to start local assembly of handsets in Dec

Local ICT service provider Aamra Holdings plans to start test production of smartphones in its assembly plant in the capital's Mirpur in the first week of December.

The company has completed more than half of the plant's construction work and hopes to get it ready by December, said AM Ehasan-ul Haque, chief operation officer of the smart solutions division at Aamra Holdings Ltd.

Commercial assembling will start in the middle of the last month in 2017 and exports from the plant will begin in the middle of next year, he said.

Aamra initially targets assembling around 30 lakh 3G and 4G enabled mobile phones every year to meet the local demand, Haque said.

"Currently, Aamra exports WE branded handsets to UAE and Doha directly from its Chinese factory and we are working to start exporting to Sri Lanka as well."

The company has already applied to the telecom regulator to get a certificate to start production in the semi knockdown assembling factory, said Sayed Farhan Ahmed, managing director of Aamra Companies, which owns Aamra Holdings.

"We hope to obtain the certificate soon."

Aamra also aims to start using the Internet of Things in the first quarter of 2018, Haque said. "We will set up a modern testing lab and a certification system over there which will also be of international standards."

The government slashed customs duty for mobile components meant for local assembling by 36 percentage points to 1 percent in the last budget, which has prompted Aamra to go for handsets assembling, he said. The government doubled the customs duty on handset imports to 10 percent, which also helped the local entrepreneurs to plan for setting up such plants in Bangladesh.

Local brand Walton has already opened its handsets plant last week and market leader handset importer Symphony is also getting ready for domestic assembling.

Aamra provides its clients with customised and integrated technology-based solutions and the company entered into handsets business with its little known brand WE in the first half of last year, Haque said.

In 2016, about 3.1 crore handsets were imported, up 11 percent year-on-year, according to Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers Association (BMPIA). The total value of the imports was about Tk 8,000 crore.

However, Aamra could not make its place in the top six handset importing companies, each of which brings in 20 lakh sets a year, according to BMPIA report.

Haque said his company has set a sales target of Tk 450 crore through handsets this year. Aamra is a pioneer in ATM technology in Bangladesh and it has installed more than 800 booths throughout the country.

With over 70 percent market share, Aamra has installed over 11,000 credit card processing terminals in the country, according to its official website. The company also implemented the country's first data centre for private banks.


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