Jul 26, 2006

CellBazaar : first ever electronic marketplace over the mobile phone

Bangladesh's top mobile phone operator GrameenPhone Ltd., majority-owned by Norway's Telenor, and USA-based CellBazaar have introduced a service connecting buyers and sellers in an electronic marketplace over the mobile phone. It's like a more direct, more primitive e-Bay , a phone-based equivalent of newspaper classified advertisements. The concept was developed at the MIT Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

This is the first time such a service is being launched anywhere in the world, Kamal Quadir, CEO of CellBazaar told a news conference on Tuesday.

The service will enable sellers to list details of their products, produce or even services in a database while buyers can look for any of this information through SMS. It will not handle transactions, but will simply put buyers and sellers in contact with each other via mobile phone. This will also have the effect of making price information more transparent and widely available. The system is designed to be as simple as possible. It will be possible to access the system using just text messages. For example if you are looking for an ibm laptop within price range of 25k-30k taka, you can simply sms:

buy ibm

and then send the sms to 3838 and on the reply sms you'll get the list of ibm laptops within that price range. If you then select a laptop from the list and sms the number of that laptop to 3838 you'll get the contact number of the peson willing to sell that perticular laptop.

Every item/service submitted to buy/sell will be valid in itemlist for 15 days.

Bangladesh has around 11.6 million mobile phone users, supplied by five operators, among a population of 140 million. Currently the cellbazaar platform could be accessed by 8.5 Million mobile phone users of bangladesh through grameen phone.

For countries like bangladesh, where the transport infrastructure is often poor, electronic commerce could prove to have even greater appeal, than in developed ones.

Source: Reuters (via csebuet blog)

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