Banglalink, bKash, City Bank launch payment plans for 4G phones

Banglalink, bKash, City Bank launch payment plans for 4G phones

Bangladesh operator Banglalink has partnered with mobile financial service provider bKash and City Bank to finance 4G smartphone purchases for customers to make the devices more affordable and in turn boost 4G adoption.

Under an agreement signed on Tuesday, customers who want to buy a 4G smartphone can use the bKash app to get a “nano-loan based collateral-free Pay Later option” to pay for the device.

The plan allows customer to buy 4G smartphones under installment plans ranging from three to six months at an annual interest rate of 9% per annum. Meanwhile, customers who qualify can receive instant loans up to Tk 30,000 (around US$274) at 0% interest, provided they repay the full amount within seven days.

The plans can be used to buy 4G smartphones at Banglalink service centres and any of the telco’s device partner outlets that have bKash merchant accounts.

According to the latest figures from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), there were 189.6 million mobile subscribers in the country as of October 2023. Of that, 100 million – or around 53% – use 4G. Industry observers have cited 4G device affordability and accessibility as a key barrier to 4G adoption in Bangladesh.

Banglalink chief commercial officer Upanga Dutta said the tie-up with bKash and City Bank is designed to make 4G devices affordable enough to encourage more people to transition from 2G and 3G services.

“This service will let customers purchase their desired smartphones in easy installments,” he said in a statement. “Hence, an increasing number of customers will be able to upgrade to smartphone usage and benefit from the power of Internet in their daily lives.”

bKash chief commercial officer Ali Ahmmed said that the service would enable customers in remote areas to afford the transition to 4G.

“bKash will continue to work with Banglalink and all partners to ensure digital inclusion for customers,” he said.

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