The Bangladesh Telecom regulator is formulating a set of guidelines that mandates that handsets imported into the country must have a Bangla keypad, reports bdnews24.com. In addition, a regulation will prevent the import of handsets without a partnership with local importers, and companies will not be able to directly import handsets into Bangladesh from February 2012 onwards. The report suggests that a decision has been taken, but guidelines haven’t yet been formulated, and that the date for enforcing the Bangla keypad hasn’t yet been fixed.
It’s worth noting that Indian OEMs like Micromax do import handsets into Bangladesh, and on both counts – of forming partnerships with importers and incorporating Bangla handsets, this could lead to an increase in costs for the company. One possibility is that it could probably choose to partner with one of its distribution partners as an importer.
Still, the more interesting part is the forced inclusion of the Bangla keypad. Think of it in an Indian context – messaging, whether text-messaging or data driven IM, is currently limited only to those who can read the Roman script or are bilingual, and it’s not that there has been a significant push from OEMs to add an Indic language keypad to handsets. We would assume that incorporation of keypads would lead to an increase in cost of the handset, and unless it is mandated, it is unlikely that Indian handset manufacturers will push for Indic keypads. We’ve made the case for Indic software based keypads and operating systems, but is it time for the Indian state to step in and enforce Indic keypads?