Bangladesh has unveiled plans to manufacture cell phones and laptops with the help of foreign companies after witnessing a revolution in the usage of both mobiles and portable computers.

Six foreign companies have submitted 'expressions of interest' for forming a joint venture with the state-owned Bangladesh Telephone Shilpa Sangstha (Teshish) to manufacture mobile sets and laptops.

The mobile phone would be as cheap at Taka 2,000 ($29) and the laptop would be for Taka 12,000 ($174)

Teshish has been revived after 12 years.

The names of the six foreign contenders were held back “to avoid confusion” during scrutiny by Teshish Managing Director Ismail Hossain, New Age newspaper said Tuesday.

Hsssain told BSS, the country's official news agency, that the letters of expression of interest were sent to head of the Electrical and Electronic Department of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) for scrutiny.

The government floated international tender in December 2009 inviting the entrepreneurs as the power and telecommunication ministry had taken an initiative to make Teshish fully operative after a long time.

Hossain hoped that the mobile sets and laptops would come to the market by April next year.

Teshish secretary Osman Gani said the mobile would be produced with local technology and every set of mobile would be priced at Taka 2,000 with every latest facility including double SIM system.

He quoted communication experts to say the number of mobile phone users in Bangladesh would be over 80 million in the next two years.

For them, Teshish will produce 400,000 sets a year initially.

Laptops and notebooks were entering Bangladeshi homes and NGOs have taken them to remote villages.

Bangladesh NGO Foundation (BNF) has been providing local NGOs with financial support in the pursuit of their social development programmes. It has as many as 1,000 or so partners all over the country, The Daily Star said.

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