How much Internet has Penetrated Bangladesh?

The internet usage in Bangladesh has been increasing rapidly since the entrance of internet in Bangladesh since early 1990s. Since 2014, there has been a rapid growth in the number of internet users, which is opening new doors for the nation through a growing e-commerce sector providing freelance opportunities for the young generation of the country.

According to Government estimation, more than 50% people are using internet, however according to the World Bank report, the number of internet users in Bangladesh is approximately 18.247% in 2016 and we have educated estimate of increased number in the last 2 years, but the exact number of internet users is still not clear.

IU 2

According to BTRC, one kilobyte consumption of data from a single SIM card is counted as an internet subscriber which makes a person having 2 or more sim cards as 2 or consequent number of subscribers, it seems. Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commissions (BTRC) shows that the number of internet subscribers at the end of July (2018) was 88.687 million, at the end of August internet subscribers were around 90.501 million whereas recently it is approximately 91.81 million in the month of November (2018).

The telecom regulators, BTRC and data from StatCounterGlobalStats estimated that people are more inclined to use the internet via their mobile phones due to the declining price of the smart phones. In 2017, it is reported that almost 73% internet users are accessing internet through mobile phones, 25% desktops and around 1% are tablet users. BTRC report also showed that the number of active mobile phone users has increased by 16.52 lakh (2018).

Internet Users

Figure: Number of internet subscribers in Bangladesh from 2014 to 2018(in millions)

The number of mobile phone internet users has increased by 17.73 lakh and reached to 8.47 crore in August (2018), at the same time the number of fixed connection users has increased by 42,000 and reached to 57.33 lakh users. According to ITU report, Bangladesh has secured its place in 18th position among 47th least developed countries in the world. Also in the year 2017, in an event, Google officials said that 4 core people in Bangladesh use internet, around 25% of the total people of Bangladesh.

Now the question comes whether they are actual users or the subscribers as both are not same, one person can subscribe to mobile internet, can subscribe in WIFI, modem and also via other sources, perhaps that one person is using his internet in his mobile phone in WIFI only. Therefore, the data the sources are providing needs to be clarified and so more research is required in this field.

Authors: Kamal Hossain is a senior Lecturer of eBusiness and MIS, while Aysha Siddika Mou and Manoka Jalil Juthi are BBA students at BRAC University.

SD Asia Desk