Banglalink's revenue in the third quarter of the year declined 4.57 percent to Tk 1,170 crore -- the lowest in nine quarters -- due to stiff competition and the growing tendency among subscribers to use multiple connections.
But it was not disclosed if the operator made any profit during the quarter in the financial report released by its parent company Veon on Thursday.
Banglalink's data revenue rose 28 percent to Tk 170 crore in the third quarter of the year on the back of acceleration of active data customer growth of 17.1 percent year-on-year.
Customer per data usage more than doubled to 523 megabytes a month.
Fuelled by aggressive customer acquisition campaigns, Bangla-link's subscriber base widened 8.4 percent year-on-year in the quarter, taking the total tally to 3.14 crore and reversing the negative trend of the previous quarter. Banglalink's gross income decreased and customer base shrank, meaning its average revenue per user declined 8.6 percent year-on-year to Tk 121.
The operator lost 38 lakh connections during last year's SIM re-verification process. As a result, its earnings dropped, said a senior official of the operator.
The report also said Banglalink is exploring alternatives to improve its capital structure ahead of 4G spectrum auction likely to take place in the first half next year, as the operator would have to spend heavily to buy spectrum and roll out 4G service.
Veon, a multinational telecom company headquartered in Amsterdam, said it is evaluating all options to improve Banglalink's capital structures.
“The proceeds from any such activity may be used for refinancing of existing debt and general corporate purposes (including capital expenditures),” said the financial statement without giving any specifics.
Jean-Yves Charlier, chief executive officer of Veon, had told reporters in Dhaka in July that Banglalink is ready to sell all of its 9,000 towers to third parties in order to pool resources to invest to improve network quality.
The intention was made clear after Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission decided to award three licences to manage mobile towers and separate telecom business from operators' network infrastructure.
Banglalink is keen to invest $1 billion over the next three years to improve its service quality as well as support the government's Digital Bangladesh vision.
Since inception, the country's third largest mobile operator by subscriber base has invested over $2.51 billion in Bangladesh and contributed $2.4 billion to the national exchequer.
The operator's 3G coverage reached 70 percent population.