Walton’s handset assembly plant starts rolling

Walton yesterday inaugurated the country's first mobile handset assembly plant in Gazipur in order to capture a major share of the domestic market in the near future.

Telecom State Minister Tarana Halim inaugurated the plant, which cost the local electronics giant about Tk 100 crore, according to Uday Hakim, the group 's chief operating officer Walton.

The local company started with the assembly of smartphones on an experimental basis; it is expected that customers will take care of the first batch of handsets assembled locally by the end of the year.

Walton will first combine the 2-3 lakh handsets per month and slowly increase to about 50 lakh units per year.

The company finally wants to export handsets from the factory.

"But we want to first respond to local demand," Hakim said.

The Walton assembly plant, where chargers, cell phones, batteries and USB cables will also be manufactured, comes after a series of encouraging government moves.

The government cut the tariff for mobile components for local assembly by a whopping 36 percentage points to 1 percent and doubled on imports of laptops to 10 percent.

Another local symphony of the Symphony brand is also working to start its mobile assembly line.

Once Walton and Symphony – the two leading players in the Bangladesh mobile phone market – are bringing their handsets together at the local level, the price level of mobile phones should be dramatically lowered.

In 2016, Walton was the third largest importer of handsets, bringing about 20 lakh units.

The country imported about 3.1 combined crore, up 11% from the previous year, costing nearly Tk 8,000 crore in 2016, according to Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers Association.

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