Commercial SMSs to boom on election campaigning | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 08, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:16 AM, November 08, 2018


Commercial SMSs to boom on election campaigning

  • 1 crore commercial SMSs are sent daily 

  • Mobile operators hold 50pc market share 

  • Mobile operators channel commercial SMSs worth Tk 5 crore a month

  • Operators charge Tk 0.25 per SMS for over 1 lakh messages




Commercial short message service industry is set to get a boost thanks to political campaigns ahead of the 11th parliamentary election.

At present, one crore commercial SMSs are sent in a day through mobile operators, land phone companies and internet protocol-based telephony service providers, but the number is expected to double over the next two months, according to sector operators.

“With digitalisation, we have seen the use of technology in the election campaigns increase notably,” said Sayed Talat Kamal, head of external communications of Grameenphone, the country's leading mobile phone operator.

Mobile operators, which have cornered a 50 percent share of the market, send commercial SMSs worth about Tk 5 crore a month, with banks leading the chart, followed by mobile financial service operators and retail stores.

“Typically during winter, both SMS and voice calls drop, but this year will be different,” said a senior executive of a mobile operator requesting anonymity.

The mobile operator has already got a good number of pre-orders for November and December, he said, adding that the SMS-based political campaigning will start in earnest once the election schedule is announced.

The election commission is expected to announce the schedule today.

SMS brings huge amounts of money every day in normal times, said Fahim Ahmed, a senior executive of Bulk SMS BD, which sends a few lakh SMS every day.

“Now, it is booming to the sky. If the political situation remains calm it will help us harvest the best results from this opportunity,” he added.

This year, MiM SMS, a bulk SMS provider, is bracing itself for more than 100 percent growth, according to its managing director, Mohammad Masum.

Election aspirants also have interest in voice call-based messages, which is more effective than an SMS but costlier, he said, adding that election-centric SMSs are already being circulated.

For normal SMS the telecom regulator's ceiling is Tk 0.50 a message, but the operators are charging Tk 0.25 for bulk SMSs of more than one lakh.

Mobile operators can also provide geographical location-based service for extra charge, which the land phone companies and IP-based telephony service providers cannot. To grab a bigger share of the political campaigning frenzy, the mobile operators are offering the service from their customer centres as well.

“Day by day our order numbers are increasing. I hope the public will understand the SMS marketing in this election time,” said Zaman Khan, founder and chief executive officer of Zaman IT.

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